Joseph Kosuth “Maxima Proposito (Ovidio)” at Vistamare, Pescara

Joseph Kosuth, Maxima Proposito (Ovidio), Installation view
Courtesy the artist and Vistamare, photo Filippo Armellin

 

Joseph Kosuth’s new solo show Maxima Proposito (Ovidio) is currently on view at Vistamare, Pescara. The exhibition is constructed around the work of the Roman poet Ovid. This is the first time that  Kosuth engages with Ovid’s oeuvre, who was born in Sulmona (in L’Aquila province, nearby Pescara), and was contemporary with Horace and Virgil. The work unfolds around a series of texts written by Ovid during Augustus’ empire, the peak of the Roman era, at its most literate, cosmopolitan and sophisticated period. Kosuth presents a selection of English and Latin excerpts, on the one hand shaping a site specific installation running throughout the four-room gallery space, and on the other giving an equally authoritative and independent quality to each piece; words and sentences are carefully selected according to their particular historical depth.

The project follows a totalizing conceptual framework that merges with the architecture in a constellation of independent works. Although Kosuth’s work mainly evolves around bigger installations, also smaller non-installed works allow the artist to think through certain ideas, beyond site specificity. The fragmentary meaning of each text is independent, yet sapiently employed in the production of a meaning generated by the artist. In Kosuth’s practice meaning is often context-dependant. The viewer is encouraged to think and participate in the production of meaning demanded by the work. For Kosuth, the viewer completes the work, as he connects with the conceptualizing process of the artist, rather than simply experiencing an artwork as a fragment of history or a retinal form of entertainment. In this case, the viewer/reader is invited to approach Ovid’s writings in this setting, through a different lens, ultimately working through the ‘new’ meaning created by both the artist and the audience.

Ready-made text has been part of Kosuth’s practice since the beginning of his career in the 1960s. His series The First Investigation includes several quotes by artists. For Kosuth, all artworks begins with “borrowed” material, which is usually disguised within the naturalization of manners and the authority of tradition. As authors use words invented by others, yet claiming personal expression and a subjective responsibility of authorship, Kosuth borrows not just words but sentences and paragraphs–sometimes even books or whole libraries, written by others. Yet, the meaning produced is reclaimed by him within the context of his work. According to Kosuth this modus operandi reveals the actual character of art. The artist uses and selects quotes of others–representatives of certain theory and literature streams which significantly contributed to our culture, always bound to the written word and the historical context of interest.

 

Joseph Kosuth, Maxima Proposito (Ovidio), Installation view
Courtesy the artist and Vistamare, photo Filippo Armellin

 

Joseph Kosuth, Maxima Proposito (Ovidio), Installation view
Courtesy the artist and Vistamare, photo Filippo Armellin

 

Joseph Kosuth, Maxima Proposito (Ovidio), Installation view
Courtesy the artist and Vistamare, photo Filippo Armellin

 

Joseph Kosuth, Maxima Proposito (Ovidio), Installation view
Courtesy the artist and Vistamare, photo Filippo Armellin

 

Joseph Kosuth, Maxima Proposito (Ovidio), Installation view
Courtesy the artist and Vistamare, photo Filippo Armellin

 

Joseph Kosuth
Maxima Proposito (Ovidio)
25 November 2017–2 March 2018

Vistamare | Largo dei Frentani 13, Pescara
Opening hours: Mon 10am–1pm; Tue to Fri 10am–1pm/4:30–7:30pm
+39 085 694570
info@vistamare.com
www.vistamare.com