Duchamp @ Pompidou

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

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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