Keith Arnatt, ‘Trouser - Word Piece’ 1972–89
Keith Arnatt
Trouser - Word Piece 1972–89
© Keith Arnatt Estate

Keith Arnatt (1930–2008) was a conceptual artist whose early radical works tested assumptions about the nature of art production, the reception and legitimatization of art.

Works like Liverpool Beach Burial (1968), Invisible Hole Revealed (1968), Self-Burial (1969), An Exhibition of the Duration of the Exhibition (1969), Art as an Act of Retraction (1971) were actions or propositions using staged interaction. In works of the period there is a shift from complex physically realized actions to works whose reduced basis (composed of textual and photographic elements) acts as a specification of the condition of the art work. Arnatt’s use of photographic documentation in his works then appeared to undermine or at least deprecate a separable role of the document as authentication, and was, and is, influential.

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