“The Duchampian Influence”
Marcel Duchamp. In 1913 a French artist mounted a bicycle wheel on a stool, and changed the art world forever.
Duchamp is arguably the most influential artist of the twenty-century, his influence is not always obvious or dominate however the underlying acceptance of radical freedom of action and thought that is concurrent in artists practice can always be traced back to Duchamp. Duchamp was a French artist who was a part of the Dada movement, a modern art movement based around the idea of challenging the norm. Dada was anti-art, it was more a “world view” rather then a distinct style, going against conventional art the aim being to provoke, stimulate and involve the audience (even if that involvement was by talking negatively about the art, the fact that people are talking about it, meant the Dadaists had achieved their goal.) Oftener dubbed the “Farther of Post-Modernism”, Duchamp’s Readymades (a found objects he selected and exhibited as an artwork) broke boundaries in defining what art was in terms of martial practice and looking at the structural framework and looked at the ideas of conceptualism. Duchamp subverted the nature of art. Through his embrace of chance and play, his original approach to his material practice and his ideologies about the conceptual side of an artwork having more importance then the work itself and the even more importance of the audience. Orginaly starting out with paintings then moving to new york after being rejected, then began making his ready mades including a bottle rack, a urinal (upsidedown), a hat rack suspended in the ceiling. Duchamp noted that he used titles as “an extra colour on his palette”. His titles are often humorous and ironic He set out to shock, disrupt the average and took delight in disturbing and outrage people with his radical approach art. The precedent Duchamp set had a deep impacted the art world, without that precedent artist such as Warhol, Jasper Johns, Pollock, Rauschenberg, Shaun Gladwell, Ai Weiwei and Mona Hatoum could not and would not exist. Artist such as Robert Rauschenberg and Ai Weiwei have recognized Marcel Duchamp as being a major influence in their art making practice. With his “Neo Dada” approach American artist, Robert Rauschenberg was one of the most innovative artists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, heavily inspired by Duchamp. Rauschenberg was also a part of this group of “Proto Post-Modernist” and interdisciplinary artists including Jasper Johns, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham, Jackson Pollock whose influence on the face of American art has been nothing short of revolutionary. Rauschenberg led painting away from and to an extent rebelled against (showing elements of Dada) the introspection of the dominant Abstract Expressionist movement to the everyday world of common objects and recognizable imagery, thus paving the way for such pop artist such as Andy Warhol. One of his most reproduced images is an example of his signature style, are his silk-screen prints. Rauschenberg appropriated images from popular and contemporary culture (such as JFK or baseball games) and transferred images to canvases and overlapped them with painted brushstrokes. This well-known image, Retroactive I, was created 1964, and contains an image of President John F. Kennedy, with his finger pointing in his characteristic way. He also used other evocative fragments and images, most recognizable; some abstracted shapes or forms as well. Picking up trash and found objects that interested him, studding these objects then integrating them into his work, thus recontextualising the objects into “art”. Not wanting these works to be referred to as either paintings or sculptures, he created his Combines. Working “in the gap between art and life” suggesting a questioning of the distinction between art objects and everyday objects, redolent of the issues raised by Duchamp’s Fountain. Bed is one of Rauschenberg's first...
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