The anticonformist visionary
Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968), revolutionary artist, inventor of readymades, obsessive chess player, and master of the silent statement, succeeded at the beginning of the 20th century to query art in its traditional form. His creations, not least his readymades such as the famous Fountain (a "reclaimed" urinal) or the Bottle Rack, are subversive and radical upshots of a critical confrontation with the production and marketing of art in the industrial age. While the young Duchamp still admired Monet, Fauvism, and Cubism, and for a while was quite closely aligned with the Dadaists and Surrealists, before long his work broke new ground and helped redefine art as we know it today.
The fact that Duchamp wanted to ensure that the self-irony and doubt, particularly in his own works, were constructively understood is best shown in one of his few statements on the subject: “I force myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.” Duchamp has long been an enigma to art historians while a great source of inspiration to other artists. This study addresses the myth and the reality, revealing a compelling portrait of Marcel Duchamp, the man and the artist.
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