62 artworks by Kenneth Goldsmith
inspired by the original text of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
by Ludwig Wittgenstein
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Kenneth Goldsmith (University of Pennsylvania)
Marjorie Perloff (Stanford University)
Knut Olav Åmås (Wittgenstein Initiative; Fritt Ord Foundation Oslo)
“My entire poetic production is founded upon Wittgenstein’s later writings. Although it has sat on my shelf for decades, I never actually read the Tractatus. But I always loved the idea of it; I am a conceptual writer, after all.”
–– Kenneth Goldsmith
“Why is the Tractatus such a source for artists? For conceptual art? Goldsmith uses the aphorisms as jumping off points for talk about many artists, beginning with Duchamp and Gertrude Stein, and of course twists the aphorisms and propositions any way he wants. But why are they so useful?”
–– Marjorie Perloff
One of the most important philosophical works in history, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is Ludwig Wittgenstein’s attempt to conquer reality through logic. Written as a series of precisely numbered propositions, it elucidates the relationship of language to logic and to reality, ending with an infamous statement of breathtaking clarity: “What can be said at all, can be said clearly; and what we cannot talk about we must pass over to silence”.
Kenneth Goldsmith, on his maiden voyage into the unforgiving rigour of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus shows no appetite for timidity. His works, placed side-by-side with the original text, reveal the breadth and depth not just of its original author’s genius, but also of the intervening artist’s creative fervour. This is a unique book, beautifully presented in large bound format, and including a handwritten afterword by the artist.