Concepts And Approaches – Lecture Two

The Linguistic Turn: Photoconceptualism and Thinking Photography

In this lecture, we started talking about three things,

The avante-garde,

Photo conceptualism,

The Linguistic Turn.

The Avante-Garde, is a movement in the arts that breaks away from the norm. It experiments or pushes art, culture and society forward. An example of this is ‘conceptual art’. The artist that we looked at in this lecture was Marcel Duchamp, as he was believed to be the first photographer who brought conceptual art to life. The picture shown of a Urinal was Marcel Duchamp’s interpretation of conceptual art. When looking at this picture, Marcel thought that conceptual art must follow these aspects, in order for conceptual art to exist.

  1. Consider each part of the art object equal and abandon technical skill.
  2. Detract from the material qualities of the artwork by equalising it with its context. (thinking about the context of where it came from)
  3. Disregard notions of beauty and aesthetics and instead produce art as ‘information’
  4. Fuse the work with its site of display and consider the public nature and possibilities of its distribution (photographic reproductions)

Things that Lawrence Weiner have said,

  1. the artist may construct the piece
  2. the piece may be fabricated
  3. the piece need not be built

Each being equal and consistent with the intent of the artist, the decision as to condition rests with the receiver upon the occasion of receivership.

The Linguistic Turn is a term taken from philosophy and relates to the intellectual obsession with language. This can equally be said of conceptual art’s relationship to language, which became a philosophy of sorts, that engaged with art as a form of linguistic communication.


Nancy Foote – “Oddly enough, conceptual art has never been plagued with accusations that it belongs on photography’s side of the tracks, yet the condition in which much of it would or could exist without photography is open to question.”

‘There is no point in making any more images, we need to reread the images we already have, reenturperete them, putting images into contexts, and give it a critical response ’ – Victor Burgin

We don’t understand enough of what already exist, so we stop making photos, in order to understand what we already have.

I like this saying, as it is quite true. Everything that has been made already has a meaning, this meaning may not have been viewed, as everyone is so concentrated in creating new content for the world. ‘More people just look at art, and not take in the context.’