Neon in Contextual Play
A companion to his previous book, Colour in Contextual Play, Joseph Kosuth’s Neon in Contextual Play continues the artist’s investigation of the interplay between language and reality, words and objects, color and light. Within these pairings, early neon works by Kosuth interact with those by Arte Povera artists who also used the industrial medium.
An artist’s book and catalog, Kosuth designed it for his eponymous exhibition project at the Mazzoleni gallery space in Turin. This city is particularly important for the artist, being the location of his first solo show in Italy, 15 Locations 1969/70 Art as Idea as Idea 1966–1970, in 1970. Moreover, as Arte Povera was arguably one of Turin’s most important contributions to art history, it seemed a fitting schema for Kosuth to create a second project parallel to the Colour in Contextual Play installation involving the presentation of his blazing tautologies along with selected neon works by Pier Paolo Calzolari, Mario Merz, and Emilio Prini. Kosuth has often stated that his work is centred on exploring the limits of language. This is clearly evident in this installation as light challenges the capacities of language at a primary level.