Oct 21, 2021 · 11:05 PM

Date 2011/2021
Image dimensions 16.4 x 398 cm
Technique/material Neon tubes, transformers, cables
Credit Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist
Inv. no. SK21009
Joseph Kosuth

‘Texts for Nothing (Waiting for–)’ #8 E.: What's wrong with you? V.: Nothing. E.: I'm going. V.: So am I.

Samuel Beckett, in play
Joseph Kosuth (born 1945 in Toledo, USA) is one of the founders and key figures of Conceptual Art, which evolved in the mid-1960s. Based on the strict reduction of pictorial means that was already practiced in Minimal Art, Conceptual Art introduced a paradigm shift in art in which the idea and concept of the work becomes more important than the actual artistic object. The artist as a maker of objects thus loses significance, while artists’ ideas do not necessarily have to be realized by the artist themselves.
Kosuth contributed to this movement early on by focusing on the relationship between art and language. One of his most well-known works is “One and Three Chairs” from 1965. It consists of a chair, a photograph of a chair, and the dictionary definition of the word “chair.” In this triptych, Kosuth demonstrates the relationship between an object, its image, and its definition – in other words, between the concrete object we can perceive with our senses and its pictorial and linguistic representation.
The artist published a great number of texts on this issue, and he co-edited the journal “Art & Language,” created by a group with the same name, which consisted of artists such as Terry Atkinson, Michael Baldwin, and David Bainbridge.
In 2011, the Museum Haus Konstruktiv organized a spectacular solo exhibition with Joseph Kosuth. In this show, he included his newest neon installation “Texts for Nothing (Waiting for –),” which refers to the titles of two works by the Irish author Samuel Beckett. In the dark exhibition room in the ground floor, the audience was greeted with text passages in white neon light that went all around the room, showing quotes from Beckett’s anthology “Texts for Nothing” and his play “Waiting for Godot.” The protagonists of “Waiting for Godot,” the two tramps Vladimir and Estragon, wait in vain for Godot, whose identity remains a mystery to the end, occasionally attempting to leave – in vain. The object acquired by the Museum Haus Konstruktiv for its collection after this exhibition depicts a passage of the dialogue between them.

Britta Schröder

With financial support by:

Lotteriefonds Canton of Zurich

Baugarten Stiftung
Ernst Göhner Stiftung
Dr. Adolph Streuli-Stiftung
Stiftung Kunstsammlung Albert und Melanie Rüegg

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Oct 21, 2021
11:00:00 PM CEST