The provisional layout for the summer grid of the sensory maze .
Converting the ground space into a ‘white cube’ as all of the space presented in the piece is going to be part of the exhibition.
No artist has control over the meaning of words because there is no authorship and it is all down to the viewer to control meaning. According to Derrida every word/ mark we produce is circulated and we can’t determine or decide the meaning as the mark we make takes on a life of its own, ‘the writer can only imitate a gesture that is always anterior, never original… the author is not the main arbiter it is the reader.’ (Jacques Derrida, ‘Signature, event, context’ (1971), inLimited Inc, trans Samuel Weber & Jeffrey Mehlman, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988, 1-23.)
- Barthes Roland ‘The death of the author’ (1968), inImage – Music – Text, trans Stephen Heath, New York: Hill & Wang, 1978, 142-8.
My Work’s focus:
- Conceptual art
- implements language to create a physically realised example of the ambiguous nature of art.
- ephemeral nature of art
- video, sound, light, sculpture and installation
- plurality of interpretation
- state of change during the exhibition
KEY WORDS (for linguistic exploration):
PROBLEMS WITH CONCEPTUAL ART:
One cannot help but realise with this inexhaustible access to redefinition. The meaning of a word is always something different from any single production or reception of that word whether written or spoken or as a mark on canvas. One must ask. Where does the authorial intention stop? When does the artwork lose its initial intentionality over the work , how will we know what it is that the artist intended since we can draw whatever it is we choose to be theoretically applied to the texts or works that we view? Some works in the linguistic sense, since we are dealing with the artists who apply a literary approach to their works, are synthetic propositions and are dependent on external references to realise the fact or truths in its conceptual contents. The same features of language applies to experience of art in general but within the experience of art , particularly art with secondary referential points one cannot experience it the same way as another individual does despite the theoretical applications. Without this external reference point the artist intention is removed and it becomes a work like Weiner’s where the reader or observer determines the meaning of the work , but one must imagine it then has the opportunity to be applied with a new conceptual meaning too. A spoken word forms meaning determined not by the person who utters it but instead by the person who hears it. The author no longer determines meaning of a conceptual work. If the conceptual idea is no longer clear does the art become less valid as a successful piece of work or does the reapplication of a new theoretical idea make it more valuable as it questions art in various ways? One cannot help but think that this is a hindered thought is art only art when theory is applied? What if the concept is to have no theory at all? Then with the death of authorship one cannot validate that this is the way in which it will remain as the reader now narrates exactly what the meaning of the work is through the discourse.
Sol Lewitt argues that “If words are used, and they proceed from ideas about art, then they are art and not literature; numbers are not mathematics.” ( Soll LeWitt, “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art,” Artforum V/10 (Summer 1967): p.80. Through the discourse about art the language used thus becomes part of art. It can exist in its idea alone. This is the basis of conceptual artwork, the idea of an idea as a work of art. Sol Lewitt doesn’t make his own works, it is the instructional idea that makes his concept brilliant and which makes his work a piece of art because art doesn’t have to be made it is the concept but it raises the argument is the object then less important than the concept?
The works are products of a concept and are just a physical representation of ideas but ‘conceptual art is made to engage the mind of the viewer rather than his eye or emotions’7.This theoretical approach to manoeuvre through work, art then becomes subservient to art theory. This subjugated position of the art work is only brought up when the theory is there to support it, only then are the two in apparent harmony together. If according to Marxist theory everything has a possibility to feed back into the commodity system one can understand why theory itself becomes marketable, and would elevate ones position as an artist and assist their acceptance into the art realm. This exclusivity of the super intellectual artist makes the cut in the industry; although a rather snobby thought to make super-clever art one must question whether the art itself was intelligent if it is just illustrating theory? Is a representation of a theoretical or philosophical thought allowing real cannon of elites, or is it just the contemporary art world trying to reinstate its worth through this intellectualism?
Art as an Idea, an Idea as art which adopts and re-appropriates texts. These texts are a means through which one is then allowed the ability to probe the condition of art. This probing unlike the collective of Art and Language is not just for the benefit of art snobbery, it is not exclusive to the art world, Weiner opens up this highly theoretical approach to art making to a general audience; an art text in a place which changes the ambiance of a location. These public installations will trigger the human’s hardwired desire to give meaning through his work. According to most post-structuralists conceptual art marks the end of philosophy and the beginning of art. Of course there was an art condition before Duchamp, but its ability to function clearly as art limits this supposed art condition so drastically that when one must look at it as are what is left is only minimally art. For an artist to strip art and reduce it to information or idea alone, one must question whether this plays down the value of the object or work as a piece of art? I will experiment with the lack of investment in what the object is as long as it illustrates theory then possibly engage further in pushing the affect in response to a substituted version with more personal meaning.
Lawrence Wiener’s conceptual pieces implement the use of language and through his clever manipulation of linguistic flexibility and re-readability this provides space for an access to the materiality of words and language as a process of making artwork. Weiner uses some more general statements as well as some very literal ones which embody what the language used describes. Weiner encourages us to Learn to Read Art
both in its content and definition, he plays with the idea of duplicitous readings and knows that what one person may read and gain from the art may be totally different from that of another, it is a self -conscious otherness the readers are forced to consider. His more literal installations such as A 36”X 36” Removal to the Lathing or Support wall of Plaster or Wall Board from a Wall forces a self-conscious development of the way in which we choose to form ideas and readings of art as well as illuminate the objective viewpoint which art predisposes upon us in the position of the replaced reader. Some conceptual art throws so much subliminal, theoretical and philosophical meaning we forget to strip it back to its literality or essence.
The Grace of a Gesture piece plays with the idea that several components make up an art work but only from a more subjective viewpoint will those components be defined through the individual, from a place of personal understanding not conflicting with any exterior meanings and definitions needed to inform the opinions of the work. Through this process, one builds undergoes a confirmatory justification process for the art work by realising it as art and supporting the work’s value through discourse as conceptual art by the discussing the linguistic flexibility and questions of art it brings to mind. The highlighting of ‘A’ in a circle then brings to light upon the same idea of multiple readings in a clearer manner. It is the use of the indefinite article which makes the gesture of the work, or what a reader would assume is the gesture is a variable point. The subject whom the work refers to is unspecific and without a singular meaning which is derived from its conceptual placement as art. A gesture, not ‘the’ gesture is written, ‘a’ points at many possibilities to read ‘the’ is more specific and hints at a more closed reading, this is what his works open up to an individual readership and to some extent authorship of his works definition as art. Werner describes conceptualism in very plain terms when referring to his own works. Without the language to describe and discuss art, there is no art and this is the basis of his Statements book.
In an interview at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Weiner states :“Art is not supposed to be in position it’s supposed to fuck everything up, it becomes so useful you can’t get rid of it”. Having multiple readings available to a single work makes it inexhaustible to decipher thus its use becomes endless, therefore always valuable. One can take a statement and formulate from their individual reading which is influenced by their own life experience their own meaning of it; “it doesn’t matter if it were drawn on with lipstick as long as one could read it”. Weiner has developed an aesthetic quality to literature and the use of language although accompanied on occasion by a visual interjection, a scribble of sorts, the materiality of the words stand alone as a functional mark upon the working space to be read in multiple ways and represent the conceptual existence of Weiner’s linguistic malleability. Despite the non-traditional use of text preferred over a medium such as paint, Weiner manages to retain and deliver the theoretical meaning (in this case, that there are several ways to read art) and it unchanged by the medium. When language reaches a point that it no longer says what it has to say, Weiner has developed gestures which become a form of language and communication. These works are in the moment and never have a period of relevance, they are current when you are reading them, and this temporal feature is what Weiner’s Written on the Wind exhibition carries. (Weiner Lawrence , Written on the Wind exhibition video interview at the Stedelijk museum , 2013 [http://www.stedelijk.nl/en/exhibitions/lawrence-weiner-written-on-the-wind]accessed 05/12/2014)
Weiner’s Bits & Pieces Put Together to Present a Semblance of a Whole is another example of the literality of materiality. Upon a wall is the place which he has decided to install this piece in a self-explanatory, statement but this illumination of the mundane and every day to me is similar to that which Duchamp’s Fountain functions. Duchamp’s readymade art questions what it is to become art and these deep theological questions of what proper art is, in the same way Weiner presents to us a wall. This text is almost a dictionary type definition of what a wall is however by him writing this text on the wall the wall then becomes art, or does it remain a wall but the discourse about the wall, much like the discourse of art and language which makes the work a piece of art, the discussion of the texts on the wall about a wall and defining a wall as art. A discussion of art, as art, about the everyday accepted as art through its discourse.
(Joseph Kosuth,Art After Philosophy and After, Collected Writings, 1966-1990. Ed. by G. Guercio, foreword by Jean-François Lyotard, MIT Press, 1991)
In his 1969 essay “Art After Philosophy”, artist and theoretician Joseph Kosuth argued that traditional art-historical discourse had reached its end. In its place he proposed a radical investigation of the means through which art acquires its cultural significance and its status as art. “Being an artist now,” commented Kosuth, “means to question the nature of art. If one is questioning the nature of painting, one cannot be questioning the nature of art . . . That’s because the word ‘art’ is general and the word ‘painting’ is specific. Painting is a kind of art. If you make paintings you are already accepting (not questioning) the nature of art.”
Joseph Kosuth’s works deals with the materiality of the word. His works provide space for a special prominence to language, generally striving to explore the nature of art, rather than handling the burden of production of traditional art. Four Colours Four Words is a representation of conceptual installation a, work which both inhibits a theoretical truth in its being as well as conceptually strong, according to linguistics it is an analytic proposition, it is illogical to argue its truth as it is independent of context and reference as it is true by virtue and form. His works can be appreciated as art without having to go outside the context of art, his works function as tautologies which are representations of the artists ideas and intentions, in the linguistic sense they do not describe a behaviour of a physical or mental object but they express definitions of art or more formal consequences or constructs of what it is to become an contemporary piece of art. By demonstrating, a writing about art, as art , one can define what art is and exists as art . By adopting the langue which is used to define itself ; they inhibit the language and function of linguistic superiority to self-define and establish itself as an artwork
TAUTOLOGIES: ART IS ART BY DEFINITION:
Like many conceptual works, this is concerned with different modes of representation. It is thus an examination of a fundamental aspect of art. It brings together a real object with representations of different aspects of that object. It consists of a working clock, a photograph of it on the same scale, and enlarged entries from an English/Latin dictionary for the words, ‘time,’ ‘machination’ and ‘object’. At the time, the artist was interested in ‘linguistic anthropology’ and the effect language has on the way we see and represent the world. He made a number of such works combining everyday things with photographs and descriptions or definitions translated from English into other European languages. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/kosuth-clock-one-and-five-englishlatin-version-t01909
Joseph Kosuth. “One and Three Chairs”. 1965.
Joseph Kosuth | ART & LANGUAGE
The viewer is led to compare the levels of accuracy in communicating meaning through both visual and verbal means. The dictionary definition is more accurate as a generic description of a table, whereas the photograph is more accurate as a description of this specific table. Yet removed from its functional context and placed in a gallery, even the table itself is only a sign: a three-dimensional and generic ‘example’ of what might be meant by the word ‘table’.
During this formative stage in his work, Kosuth made the tautological nature of art explicit. As an analytical proposition, art presupposes the existence of an aesthetic entity that fulfills the criteria of “artness.” This criteria, as Marcel Duchamp proved with his readymades, could consist merely of the declaration “this is a work of art.” Kosuth used this linguistic approach to explore the social, political, cultural, and economic contexts through which art is presented and thus defined. To demonstrate this discursive aspect of art, Kosuth employed language itself as his medium. What resulted was a rigorously Conceptual artdevoid of all morphological presence; intellectual provocation replaced perception as words displaced images and objects. This shift was signaled in Kosuth’s First Investigations(subtitled Art as Idea as Idea), a series that includes photostats of dictionary definitions of words such as “water,” “meaning,” and “idea.” Accompanying these photographic images are certificates of documentation and ownership (not for display) indicating that the works can be made and remade for exhibition purposes. This strategy of presentation represents Kosuth’s attempt to undermine the preciousness of the unique art object and its privileged place in the museum. He sought to demonstrate that the “art” component is not located in the object itself but rather in the idea or concept of the work.
Kosuth has said that “art is making meaning,” and in his work he investigates the ways in which art-making is tied to language. This work is part of a series based on definitions clipped from dictionary entries for words including “art,” “chair,” “meaning,” or, in this reflexive example, “definition.” Kosuth considers the work of art to be the definition of the given word, but for the purpose of presentation he asks that his original cut-out dictionary entry be photographically enlarged to a specific dimension each time the work is exhibited. This Photostat is the first realization of this work, fabricated in 1968, and as such it is shown here as a historical document. http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=137438