Artworks and Artists
One and Three Tables

One and Three Tables,
Kosuth, Joseph
wood table and photostat enlargements
table: 74.9 x 60.3 x 61 cm; photostat of table: 117.8 x 91.8 cm; photostat of definition: 61 x 61 cm


Kosuth’s work is a series of conceptual investigations about the function and nature of art. He began to work with language when he lost faith in painting but still wanted to be an artist. According to Kosuth, painting no longer seemed relevant in the early 60s. He turned to linguistics and philosophy to help order his thoughts about art. He rejected the traditional definition of art as a beautiful object. According to Kosuth, works of art are ideas that exist independently of the physical object. The physical object is considered simply the embodiment of the idea. All my work exists when it is conceived because the execution is irrelevant to the art... the art is for an art context only."The abandonment of the physical object reflected the prevailing anti-materialist tendency in art. It’s not the materials that make a work important, Kosuth noted. It’s the thinking. It is impossible to see my work. What is seen is the presentation of the information. The art exists only as an invisible, ethereal idea."