Conceived by American artist Joseph Kosuth (born 1945), this installation includes a selection of his work along with a group of seminal works by Marcel Duchamp from the Museum’s collection. The installation takes as its point of departure Duchamp’s notion of “elementary parallelism,” coined to refer to his pictorial treatment of time and movement in Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2), from 1912. This same expression finds concrete resonance in Kosuth’s ‘An Elementary Parallelism’, from 2013, which is the starting point for the installation unfolding across four gallery walls. For Kosuth, the phrase serves as a springboard to investigate the multiple ways in which his work intersects with that of Duchamp.
Kosuth, a pioneer of Conceptual art, began in the 1960s to employ a language-based methodology as a way to question a purely formal notion of art. Like Duchamp, Kosuth intends to return art to “the service of the mind,” working with ideas as the primary material for art. Manifesting in a deliberate—at times playful—use of words and meaning, Kosuth’s work advocates the interplay of the visual and the verbal.
Toward the end of his life, when asked about the use of his time, Duchamp often described himself as a breather—a respirateur—in which art and life were seamlessly intertwined. In homage to his predecessor, Kosuth’s installation seeks to entangle, blur, and redefine these boundaries, through a process of reference, reproduction, and appropriation.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website