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  • Provenance

    Gian Enzo Sperone, Rome; Galleria Alfonso Artiaco, Naples

  • Catalogue Essay

    My initial reasons in the sixties for attempting to use language as a model for art (in 'theory' as well as introducing it as a 'formal' material in art practice) stemmed from my understanding of the collapse of the traditional languages of art into a larger, increasingly organised, meaning system which is the modernist culture of late capitalism. Traditional languages of art are controlled zones where specialised, fetishised markets are allowed to follow their own circular paths displaying 'freedom' safely out of the way of those mechanisms of organised meaning - which in varying ways amount to the increased institutionalisation of everyday life. Conceptual art as critical practice, finds itself directly embedded in that realm of organised meaning; but historical understanding means that the work begins to understand itself; it becomes critical of those very processes of organised meaning in the act of self-understanding. It criticises this system through the act of criticising itself. The point made in the sixties about 'breaking out of the traditional frame of painting and sculpture' and the kind of work necessitated by such a break - seeing what art 'means' outside of such a traditional language, provided the possibility of seeing how art acquires meaning. Conceptual art then seemed to take two forms, either it evolved into a stylistic paradigm competitive with, while extending, traditional art, or it withdrew into theory. (Joseph Kosuth, Within the Context, 1977)
    It was through works such as 'A Discussion About a Lawn' that artist Joseph Kosuth firmly rooted himself as one of the pioneering and influential figures in the conceptual art movement along with other formidable forces such as Sol LeWitt and Carl Andre. Kosuth's 'A Discussion About a Lawn' presents his audience with the idea of an image without the use of pictorial methods. The use of the clear glass removes any pre-conceived notions of the 'image', yet the context and the use of language still has the ability to conjure up memories of landscape painting. It is the direct employment of this dichotomy that makes Kosuth's work so powerful and evocative; 'A Discussion About a Lawn' is a prime example of the artist's mastery of language.


Grass, vegetation, green, growth

Four glass panels with black stencilled lettering and artificial grass.
102 x 510 x 110 cm. (40 x 43 1/4 in).
This work is accompanied by the artist's framed preparatory drawing entitled Drawing for Discussion about a Lawn which is signed and dated 'Joseph Kosuth 1965' lower left. This drawing serves as a certificate of authenticity for this installation.    

£80,000 - 120,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

18 Oct 2008, 7pm