What is Conceptual Art?

Conceptual art is the name of an artistic movement in which the concept takes precedence over the object. He was born in the 1960s and manifested in different countries such as the United States, England, France and Italy, etc.

The purpose of conceptual art is to favor the processes of intellectual reflection over the stimulation of visual sensations. Thus, part of the principle that the viewer participates in the same process as the creator of the concept.

This type of approach derives from a fundamental idea: there may be aesthetic experience even when there is no presence of an artistic object.

By questioning the preconceived idea of ​​the transcendence of the artistic object, conceptual art opens a new field of aesthetic exploration that leads to the formation of multiple trends and groups in different latitudes.

The movement has its background in the ready made technique developed by Marcel Duchamp and other artists of Dadaism. The ready made consists of taking an everyday object, decontextualizing it and intervening.

The term “conceptual art” is taken from an essay prepared by Henry Flynt in 1961, entitled Concept art. In this essay, Flynt takes a tour of the transformations of art throughout the twentieth century. Concept art has also been called information artsoftware art or idea art.

Concept art was born in a very controversial decade, due to the emergence of multiple agendas: on the one hand, the Vietnam War, whose scandalous details had been revealed in the independent press. On the other, the investment of feminism, the emergence and development of information and communication technologies and the different social revolutions of the time.

Characteristics of conceptual art

  • Value the concept over aesthetics.
  • Identify and report problems of the social environment.
  • It is controversial.
  • Use of satire and irony.
  • It covers different artistic disciplines (music, literature, plastic arts, etc.).
  • Use different media and techniques: video art; ready made; Photography; performance ; object art; installation; collage, etc.

Most important groups and artists of conceptual art

Among the most important movements we can mention the following: the Fluxus Movement, organized by George Maciunas and in which Yoko Ono participated; the Art & Language movement, created by Terry Atkinson, David Bainbridge, Michael Baldwin and Harold Hurrell; and the Mail art movement , promoted by Ray Jonson, among others.

As individual figures can be mentioned: Carl Andre, Robert Barry, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, Lawrence Weiner, Yves Klein and Piero Manzoni.