Joseph Kusuth's neon displays have lit up the likes of MoMA and the Venice Biennale. Now the Touted as the 'pioneer of conceptual art' is showcasing his sparkling 50 year oeuvre on Australian shores

Joseph Kosuth's art practice sits at the nexus of philosophy, anthropology and literature. Buoyed by the work of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, among others, his text-based art reveals a visceral quest to ponder and distil the essential questions of existence.

From 7 October until 5 November, Melbourne's Anna Schwartz Gallery presents 'A Short History of My Thought', presenting a large body of text and neon works from the past fifty years.

Unfolding across the entire gallery space, the exhibition gathers cornerstone early works from the late 1960s, such as 'Titled (Art As Idea As Idea)' [why] [how] (Webster), 1967, through to the present. Kosuth's investigation of philosophy, literature and theater brings the relationship between art and language to the foreground. 'A Short History of My Thought' plays with meaning, with references ranging from Mondrian, Darwin and newspaper comic strips, to the writings of Freud and Beckett.

As the critic Anne Prentnieks has noted: 'Kosuth's pairings of high-minded content with common materials have a hypersaturating, destabilizing effect that eliminates hierarchies of information. It's just like our over-connected, faux-democratic, super-digital culture today: a virtual ambush of information through which meaning is eventually, hopefully, distilled.'

The Joseph Kosuth exhibition 'A Short History of My Thought' will be on view from 7 October until 5 November 2017 at Anna Schwartz Gallery, 185 Flinders Lane Melbourne.

Anna Schwartz Gallery and Melbourne Festival will present a free public lecture by Joseph Kosuth on Thursday 5 October at 6.30pm at State Library Theatre, State Library Victoria.

Neon dream: Joseph Kosuth’s major Australian exhibition