November 22, 2012


Marcel Duchamp
(1887 - 1968) is a French artist who is most commonly linked with both the Dada movement and the Surrealist movement. His piece, Fountain (1917) was his most controversial, which he submitted while he was a member of the board of the Society of Independent Artists. This piece was a readymade, which he submitted under the pseudonym ‘R.Mutt’ and it aimed to shift the focus of art from physical and technical craft to intellectual interpretation. His submission was not exhibited despite the board’s claim that all works would be shown, for which reason he resigned from the Society. Duchamp then made it his ‘mission’ to show people how to turn art/exibitions on its head.  

All exhibitions of painting or sculpture make me ill and i’d rather not be involved in them.”

Marcel Duchamp in letters to Jacques Doucet, 19 October [1925]    
Duchamps, M. (2002) private correspondence, in: Duchamps, M. and Naumann, F. (ed) Affectionately, Marcel: the selected correspondence of Marcel Duchamp. Ghent: Ludion, p.152.

He turned traditions of display and viewing on its head. In one of his exhibitions, the 1938 International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris, visitors were given flash lights to view the work as the room was in the dark. They also had to get close to the work in order to see it, which is an obvious contrast to the way museums often encourage a “proper distance”. 
In 1942, Duchamp curated and contributed to the first International Surrealist Exhibition in the united states, held at the Whitelaw Reid mansion in new york, which was an interior full of classical and ornate architectural details. Duchamp played against this interior by creating a web of white sting throughout the exhibition. He did this with the intent to challenge the viewer, to make deciphering the space and the objects on display problematic rather than an easy-view experience. This reconfigured the way the way the audience experiences looking at the work and enforces the idea that exhibition making is an artistic practise in itself. 
This new way of looking at displaying work encourages me to think out of the box when displaying my work, and not get encouraged to display in a conventional way that you may see in a gallery or museum.

Photoset images:

Marcel Ducamp, (1917), Fountain. Available at: http://dastardlyreads.com/tag/what-is-art/[Accessed 22 November 13] 

Marcel Ducamp, (1942), Sixteen Miles of String . Available at:http://www.toutfait.com/issues/volume2/issue_4/interviews/hirschhorn/popup_9.html [Accessed 22 November 13].

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tags #Marcel Duchamp #R. Mutt #Fountain #Marcel Duchamp Fountain #Controversial art #Art #Artist #Urinal #Duchamp

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