In Joseph Kosuth’s Amnesia: Various, Luminous, Fixed at Spruth Magers London, a literal Freudian slip appeared on display: the opening page of the very first proof copy of Fetischismus, with the errors corrected by the author’s own hand and then blown-up, as neon lights, around it.
The corrections on Fetischismus are a fitting addition to any retrospective examination of Kosuth’s work, as the life of Sigmund Freud is one of the artist’s longstanding fixations; as one of the very first practitioners of conceptual art, and as one of the movement’s founders, the essential meaning of things — both secret and apparent — is his foundation. “One must acknowledge the debt of the impact Sigmund Freud’s own creative production has had on the culture of modernity and, as a result, its own capacity of self-reflection,” he wrote in 1989: a former student of Philosophy and Anthropology as well as art, even his earliest uses of the now-familiar medium of neon text installation still project this strident modernity. The show has since relocated to MAM Moscow.
Photography by Annabel Elston