Joseph Kosuth’s site-specific project ‘The Mind’s Image of Itself #3’ a play of architecture and the mind’, has transformed the Victorian gallery interior of Sprüth Magers in Mayfair, into a ‘house of ideas’. The installation is composed of a wallpapered architectural plan of the exhibition space. The artist has filled the space with 150 meticulously selected quotes by diverse thinkers including Walter Benjamin, Samuel Beckett and Virginia Woolf. The insertion of a fragmented intellectual discourse placed as wall texts throughout this double architectural setting pairs the image of an architectural grammar with that of a multitude of voices and associations constructing an interior contemplative space where readers, as visitors, enter and dwell in the architecture of – a house of ideas.
‘The Mind’s Image of Itself’ is both a reflection on the architecture of the gallery space and of a suggested architecture of the mind. The installation is composed of an off register, a 1:1 wallpapered line drawing facsimile of the gallery rooms themselves; an architectural plan of the exhibition space visible only due to its off-centre positioning. Kosuth re-frames a structure that literally replicates and shifts the existing Georgian and Victorian architecture morphology of the London gallery. The mind’s ‘image of itself’ is a reflection within itself, an allegorical re-tracing of the defining elements that make up both the physical context of the exhibition itself (its walls, doors and windows) while simultaneously presenting the various meanings that the space, as an architectural object and a social/culture interface in play, reflects.
Kosuth’s work and writings as a pioneer of Conceptual Art has, for over forty years, consistently explored the production and role of language and meaning within art. This enquiry into the relation of language to art has taken the form of installations, museum exhibitions, public commissions and publications. Public installations include the Place des écritures, 1991, a giant copy of the Rosetta stone, as a reference to birthplace of its translator Jean-François Champollion In Figeac, Lot, France. For the 2007 Biennale di Venezia he exhibited Il Linguaggio dell’Equilibrio / The Language of Equilibrium at the Monastic Headquarters of the Mekhitarian Order on the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, Venice. Kosuth’s ni apparence ni illusion, an installation throughout the 12th century walls of the Louvre Palace within the Musée du Louvre in Paris will be installed in October 2012 as a permanent work. Further works include an installation on the façade of the Council of State of the Netherlands and a permanent work for the four towers of the façade of the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris for 2012.
Images: Joseph Kosuth. Place des écritures, 1991. A giant copy of the Rosetta stone in Figeac, Lot, France, the birthplace of Jean-François Champollion. (creative commons. Eigene Photographie)
Joseph Kosuth ‘The Language of Equilibrium / Il Linguaggio dell’Equilibrio’, 2007 Isola di San Lazzaro degli Armeni, Venise, Italie. Biennale de Venise, Vue de l’installation.
Joseph Kosuth, – ni apparence ni illusion -, 2009, Musée du Louvre, Paris, France, ph © Florian Kleinefenn, courtesy Musée du Louvre, October 2009