T.O.P. Texts and Research – Agnes Martin and Joseph Kosuth.

I found our initial meeting pretty difficult as I’m still recovering from being ill, my cognitions were very slow and I’ll probably be like this for a while so trying to gather my thoughts and express my ideas has not been easy. However, after the meeting I was thinking long and hard on the train and realised that I had attended seminars with Dave Beech on Choices, Decisions and Judgement during Stage One. I thought it would be useful to look over the notes I have made as choices, decisions and judgements as this is the essence of an artists practice and relies on their internal processes/cognitions.

I had a thorough search and came across some notes on Agnes Martin and Joseph Kosuth which lead me to research both names and found a very helpful essay by…

Joseph Kosuth – ‘Art After Philosophy.’


This was an interesting essay as it speaks about art as a language and how artists’ question the nature of art and what they individually do to bring, change or alter the nature of art. This may be by propositioning tautologies surrounding art. Kosuth made a point about how Duchamp’s contribution to art (let’s face it, he was THE MAJOR game changer in Conceptual art), applies to all work after his time, in the sense that artists have all borrowed this idea of aiming to make their art speak some kind of language. What makes it different is that of course, the artist has their own intent and this goes on to inform the language the artist is trying to speak through their art and the meaning they are trying to express. For me, this is something that we always consider as artists, because we all have our individual experiences and interests, we are all creating our own visual or sensual language informed by our own internal processes.

Agnes Martin – Writings/Schriften

This book is a compilation of personal essays and lectures by Agnes Martin, she speaks of the artists journey and their practice as something quite spiritual and innate in which our decisions are impulsive and need no logical thought to them. She expresses the importance of being reflective, looking to nature for inspiration and being alone in this journey is essential to our practice as it allows us to become more self-conscious and aware but prioritise our art over most things. I like Martin’s writings because it relates back to de Chirico’s ‘Mystery and Creation’, both speak of the process of creating as something instinctual that occurs out of the artist’s hunger to explore and how this derives from deeper, natural impulses that go beyond our logic. But I was also critical of Martin’s Writings as I found she disregards how important logical deductions are in the process of making. Artists have an active role in decision making and MUST make logical deductions when faced with a problem, this is not something that happens out of thin air in the way that Martin assumes. To expand on this, she also disregards how external experience in the social world informs our practices and that art isn’t purely natural and just felt. In some ways we need these experiences in order to make sense of some impulses we experience. So as a realist, I feel Agnes Martin offers heavily romanticised ideas that are unrealistic. Especially those of being alone. As artists and humans, we collaborate, we learn from one another. This is human nature and we cannot just hide away from the world.

I sent links to my group for them to read into and explained my reasons for thinking this would be a good route to take as it offers a holistic explanation of internal processes as opposed to psychoanalytical theory which I know, does not feed into everyone’s practice and they all seem to agree and like the text by Agnes Martin.

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