Sentences written in French using neon tubing are suspended along the walls of the medieval Louvre
. Joseph Kosuth, a major figure of the contemporary international art scene, temporarily lays claim to the excavated ancient Louvre, offering visitors a dense and luminous work.
The influential American artist Joseph Kosuth is widely regarded as a leading proponent, and one of the founders, of conceptual art, a movement which emerged in New York in the 1960s. His work considers art to be the production of meaning and thus the idea, or concept, becomes the defining component of a work of art, often eliminating the materiality of the art object altogether. Since the mid-1960s, Kosuths work has focused on the connections between words and things, between language and representation. As his work is conceptually based and not media defined, he employs various strategies for his work, from photos with common objects or neon tubing (Centre Pompidou Collection) to texts sandblasted in stone (Champollion Monument, Places des Écritures, Figeac). Kosuth create installations with texts, often monumental in size, usually comprised of quotations from different sources: literature, philosophy, anthropology, among others. His public works, as well as works in most public and private collections, can be found in most countries in Europe, The United States and Japan and elsewhere. Joseph Kosuths most recent installations include a project on the Isola di San Lazzaro for the Venice Biennale in 2007 and another at La Casa Encendida in Madrid in 2008.
This time, the artist has decided to work in the moats of the medieval Louvre and to write on the old walls of the medieval palace, encouraging the visitor to rediscover this mysterious, underground space.
The title of this installation, "Neither Appearance nor Illusion" ("ni apparence ni illusion") is taken from a quote of Friedrich Nietzsche. The installations fifteen sentences, distributed in various positions along the walls, suggest a quest both experiential and introspective. They play on the complex relationships between history, archeology and the role of the visitor to complete the work themselves. The artist, an originator of appropriation and well known for the use of texts and quotations of others for his works, has decided in this case, and for the first time since 1979, to construct the texts himself.
Fifteen stones in place, all out of shadow, these lit words make visible both the viewer and the viewed. The wall, the passage.