Unless you have been living under a rock for the last century (and I say this because my brother evidently had been) you will be familiar with Marcel Duchamp as the father of conceptual art. Duchamp changed the art world when he put his ‘fountain’ (the urinal) into a gallery in 1917. He is most famous for his ‘ready-mades.’ As a viewer, you either love or hate non-representational art. Duchamp is not known for drawing or painting, and many are probably of the opinion that the artist has no skill at all as a draughtsman. However, a new exhibition at the Pompidou Centre in Paris is certain to change your perception of the Frenchman.
The advertisements for the Duchamp exhibition around Paris display the famous graffiti-ed ‘LHOOQ’ Mona Lisa. Before going into the gallery, any visitor would be forgiven for expecting a display of the artist’s visual jokes and a plethora of tongue-in-cheek innuendo. What the viewer is first met with could not be further from this. Inside the galleries are 100 works that are mainly paintings that have been displayed together for the first time. These works allow us to see the ‘journey’ that Duchamp took before he created his infamous ready-mades.
Through the paintings we can see that Duchamp was not dissimilar to the majority of artist’s throughout history, having experimented with many different styles and honing his skills as a painter. Yes, the artist who killed painting started out as a painter himself. We learn that Duchamp had a Fauve period and a Cubist period before embarking on his ‘humorous’ periods and forays into Dadaism.
For any of my readers embarking on a trip to palace over the festive period and looking for something completely unexpected, then this is the show!
Marcel Duchamp: La Peinture, meme is on display at the Pompidou Centre, Paris until 5 January 2015