A work of conceptual art, actively practiced in the late ‘60s to early ‘70s, documents a simultaneous full manifestation of the true reality of the world and the true personality of the artist, while inspiring a potential full dissolution of the artist’s and the viewer’s personhood into a state of self-other unity, all through the artist’s depersonalization—toward self-oblivion and embodiment of any-body—performed in the process of executing the work. This proposition is extraordinary in art-theoretical context but a logical conclusion of the initial definition of conceptual art posed by artist Sol LeWitt as a methodology to ‘avoid subjectivity’ (1967) in order to realize the idea just as conceived, through an instructed simple action, and to see how the world reacts to it. What principle enables this effect? How can the potential be activated? Informed by Alexander Alberro’s theoretical articulation of conceptualism (1999), Kitaro Nishida’s philosophy of ‘absolutely contradictory self-identity’ (1939), Lucy Lippard’s and Bas Jan Ader’s poetic simulations of hive minds (1969–71), and Pierre Bourdieu’s ‘dispositionalist’ research method (2013), this project plays out the proposed conclusion in a self-reflexive manner, with my living body here and now as the sole agent for a four-year-long instructed performance, collectivizing many conceptual artists into one as a personification of the history of conceptual art redefined by depersonalization instead of dematerialization.
Nico Dockx (KA) & Kyoko Iwaki (UA)