I dare not say anything about Kosuth, one of the artists present in the firmament of the greats. We wanted to acquire an important "definition" by him, in English. We succeeded: "Art", we think, is the most to which we could ever aspire.
‘Art’s only claim is for art. Art is the definition of art’
(J. Kosuth, Art After Philosophy and After: Collected Writings, 1966-1990, Cambridge, 1991, p. 24).
“Being an artist now means to question the nature of art,” Joseph Kosuth argued on multiple occasions including in his seminal text “Art after Philosophy.” “If one is questioning the nature of painting, one cannot be questioning the nature of art…That’s because the word art is general and the word painting is specific. Painting is a kind of art. If you make paintings you are already accepting (not questioning) the nature of art” (J. Kosuth, Art After Philosophy and After: Collected Writings, 1966-1990, Cambridge, 1991, p. 18). Urging that traditional art historical discourse had finally reached its end in the late 1960s, Joseph Kosuth sought to investigate the true nature of art—and more so to question the means by which objects achieved their high-art status and subsequent cultural importance. Implementing a linguistic approach, Kosuth began to examine the ways that art-making was tied to language to explore the social, political, and economic contexts through which art was presented and in turn defined. Constructing an uncompromisingly conceptual form of art, Kosuth displaced both image and object with words. Marking his first study into linguistics, his series entitled Art as Idea as Idea is based on definitions culled from dictionary of words such as “water,” “chair,” “meaning,” and the present more reflexive and affecting example, “art.” In this wholly deconstructive approach to art, Kosuth considers the definition of his chosen word to be the actual work of art, whereas the enlarged photostat serves merely as a means of exhibition. “I always considered the Photostat the work’s form of presentation (or media);” Kosuth explained, “but I never wanted anyone to think that I was presenting a Photostat as a work of art—that’s why I made that separation and subtitled them as I did…The idea with the photostat was that they could be thrown away and then re-made—if need be—as part of an irrelevant procedure connected with the form of presentation, but now with that ‘art’” (Ibid., p. 30-31). Resultantly, this manner of presentation represents the artist’s attempt to challenge the preciousness of the unique art object, and establish that the “art” component is not located in the object itself but rather in the idea of the work.