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Joseph Kosuth
Joseph Kosuth, The Material of Ornament, neon installation, 1997
Joseph Kosuth, The Material of Ornament, neon installation, 1997

In 1997, for the Artists for Sarajevo project, Joseph Kosuth created an important neon installation on the façade of the Querini Palace.


There are twelve descriptions taken from John Ruskin’s book The stones of Venice, with terms used by English critic to catalogue and describe the decoration and ornament of Venetian Gotic and Renaissance architecture: ‘Abstract lines’, ‘Forms form earth (crystals), ‘Forms from water (waves)’, ‘Forms from air (clouds), ‘Organic forms (shells), etc. Kosuth has taken the theoretical model of ornament and has used it tautologically as ornament.


The material of ornament, 1997

Twelve neon lights sparkle on the façade of the Querini Palace and visibly define in unity – the architectural body of the palace; this is because the installation inscribes itself as meta- text of the architecture, connecting the separate parts in a systematic unity. The linguistic strings, disseminated on the façade, are indipendent fragments which, in the contesxt of the architectural surface, activate a series of relationships which lead to the beginning of meaning. After the first view of the whole installation – the first visual contact – the viewer’s eye begins a slow deconstruction of each single fragments in order to return to the unity of the initial image.


talentum>tolerare, 2000

The work <talent/um, tolerare> donated by Joseph Kosuth to the Fondazione Querini Stampalia and permanently exhibited in the entrance of the Palace, represents the graphic image which in 2000 the artist conceived as th godfather of the first edition of the Querini – Furla prize for art.


“The work I have made for the Premio Querini – Furla per l’Arte is based on the origin of the word talent. The play in the work is between two aspects: the first is our concept of ability - from talent - which is joined together with its ancient meaning of ’a sum of money’. The second aspect is ‘tolerare’, which originating in Latin, means ‘to support.’ “ (Joseph Kosuth).  





Website credits

Studio Camuffo

Alvise Rabitti
Giovanni Rosa