In democratic Athens, dialogue became a celebrated and popular literary and philosophical form, especially with Plato. Since that time, the format of dialogue has persisted as a pedagogical and expressive tool, not only for literary and philosophical work but also for artistic purposes. In the contemporary visual arts, for example, it has operated as a way of questioning authorship and assertiveness.
For the British collective, Art & Language, the format of dialogue was not only a defining element in the constituency of the group, it also shaped the type of work produced by the artists, who explored the semantic qualities of written language as a means of producing art. Their writing, embodying the dialogical nature of the collective, approached a condition that can be described as performance, similar to the dialogues chronicled by numerous classical authors. Exploring the “linguistic turn” in contemporary art, the discussion between Art & Language and Carles Guerra, director of the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, will open possible connections between different types of dialogue, and the important role played by rhetoric in Antiquity.