I have been quite fuzzy headed the last few weeks & I’m having trouble focusing or remembering things. The strangest thing is that despite my struggles to function with anything even resembling my normal capacity, when my mind does wander it wanders to thoughts of analytic philosophy (mostly about the relationship between linguistic meaning, logic, and reality- think Wittgenstein & Ayers) with a heavy dose visual imagery from the conceptual artists of the 1960s who used the ideas as fodder for their work.
For instance, Bruce Nauman’s “A rose has no teeth” cast a phrase from Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations in lead and nailed to a tree in a garden. Wittgenstein uses this phrase as an example of an obviously true statement whose meaning is nonetheless obscure. Joseph Kosuth produced a series of enlargements of philosophically meaningful definitions (e.g. Art as Idea as Idea.) Kosuth, in particular, intimately connects conceptual art and analytic philosophy by arguing that conceptual artworks are analytic propositions. They express and challenge definitions of art. They are in effect and actuality tautological – they are statements of propositional logic that hold for all the truth values of their atomic propositions – they are what they are and what they say they are.
What I find interesting in the assumption of the written word and philosophical underpinnings of this particular strain of conceptual art is that both Nauman and Kosuth have in affect translated one visual medium (writing) to another visual medium (lead, photograph, etc…) I am still at a loss as to whether changing the context, from the container of philosophy to art, they are still expressing the same idea on a smaller scale? What I mean by this is that the philosophical writings of Ayers and Wittgenstein examine how we, humans, interact with “reality” writ large, whereas Nauman and Kosuth seem to be examining the idea of “art”, a potentially smaller fragment of “reality”. Or, are they expressing the same ideas in a different context, but since that context is part of the whole, they are still dealing with our relationship to reality at large? Are they using tautological works to show how art creates what the definition of art is? Or are they using art as a language to show how language creates and informs reality?
Book of the Day:Gargantua and Pantagruel - Francois Rabelais
Song of the Day: Those Damn Blue Collar Tweekers- Primus
Religious Figure of the Day: Saint Eric of Sweden