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
Written as a series of numbered propositions, Wittgenstein’s treatise is an ambitious attempt to elucidate the relationship of language to logic and to reality. Goldsmith’s response to the text is a testament to the highly distinctive artistic vision that characterizes all of his work. Inspired by the Tractatus but also boldly inventive, Goldsmith’s images reveal the breadth and depth not just of Wittgenstein’s genius, but also of the intervening artist’s creative fervor.
A major philosophical work, one of the most important written in the twentieth century, 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”.
Originally conceived as part of the Marginalia series of hand-annotated classics, this special edition consists of sixty-two original artworks inspired by the famous tract. Collages, drawings, sketches, handwritten comments, blacked-out and blanched text, shopping receipts and scans-within-scans – these are some of the techniques that appear in the pages of this book.
Kenneth Goldsmith, on his maiden voyage into the unforgiving rigor 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 fervor. This is a unique book, beautifully presented in large bound format, and including a handwritten afterword by the artist.
I Declare a Permanent State of Happiness
Eris / 2023