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223 artworks, 50 artists
Conceptualism, conceptual art (lat. conceptus — thought, representation) is a direction in the painting and literature of Europe and America of the late 1960s, the purpose of which was not a physical and emotional, aesthetic expression, but the transmission of an idea. The conceptualist painting debates with the objective world of postmodernism, although it is its offshoot. The artists who work in this style seek to create more ideas and concepts while they do not limit themselves to painting techniques, materials, or subjects of their works. Conceptual art combines many creative processes, it allows you to search for your own painting manner, generate new meanings for the familiar things. The work appears in the form of an object, phenomenon, process, gesture, text, or, literally, the absence thereof. Conceptual artists, as a rule, have a high intellectual level and developed self-irony and contrast their works with popular, understandable commercial art: “We are not paintng a style, we are painting a direction. Whatever the artist does, speaks, or think, the artist is engaged in art.”
In 1969, American postmodernist artist and art theorist Joseph Kosuth created the theoretical foundation for conceptualism, and his composition “One and Three Chairs” is a classic example of the direction. The second philosopher artist was Marcel Duchamp, who presented the Fountain composition in 1970 in New York — a urinal with an inscription. In the second half of the 20th century, artists and thinkers strove for provocations, radical gestures, and lengthy discussions on the fundamental issues. The artistss declared war on expressiveness, pictorial technique, aesthetics, logic and taste. The painting of conceptual artists demonstrated rejection of the generally accepted canons of beauty, painting techniques, imagery, and subject matters.
The conceptualist paintings confirm the rule: create an idea, create what you want and forget about the usual categories. The artists strived to ensure that the work of art did not look like that, did not meet the cultural and commercial values of society. The conceptual masters used the techniques of graphics, photography, calligraphy, optical effects. The subject of an artwork could be an object, gesture, environment, or the artist himself/herself.