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Joseph Kosuth permanent installation: La signification, L'emplacement du mot dans un champ grammatical

The American artist Joseph Kosuth, pioneer of the conceptual movement, has chosen to commemorate Magritte Museum’s 10th anniversary by permanently installing one of his works in the collections. From October 11, 2019, visitors of the museum will be able to discover Kosuth’s monumental (3,40m x 10m) piece: ‘La signification, L'emplacement du mot dans un champ grammatical.’

Joseph Kosuth created this monumental installation in homage to René Magritte in 2016. It was first presented during the exhibition René Magritte: The Treachery of Images organized by the Centre Pompidou in Paris. 

As his starting point, Joseph Kosuth took The Apparition, painted by Magritte in 1928 and emblematic of the period during which he explored alternating between words and images. A theorist as well as a visual artist – the two are inseparable for him -, Kosuth was inspired by Ludwig Wittgenstein’s (1889-1951) research into language. The title of the work is from a chapter of his book “The Big Typescript”, and the cube in the centre of the composition comes from Wittgenstein’s major work “Tractatus logico-philosophicus”, which also influenced Marcel Broodthaers.  Other diagrams as well as quotations by Michel Foucault (who published an essay on The Treachery of Images in 1973) and Nietzsche, are superimposed on the image, altogether evoking a complex theoretical reflection on language, with Magritte as a starting point.

‘La signification, L'emplacement du mot dans un champ grammatical.’ is the second piece by Joseph Kosuth to be added to the prestigous collection of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, after “Titled (A.A.I.A.I.)' [water, Eng.-Latin]” (1968); two major contributions which enrich Belgian’s cultural heritage.

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