Saturday, 14 June 2014

On Why Duchamp Was Not A Dadaist

People often say that Duchamp was a Dadaist. He was not. He was already in New York in 1916 when Dadaism was being invented in Zurich, and by then had already completed many of the works that later got him associated with the Dadaist movement. He moved on the periphery of the movement and by his own testament had little to do with it. He once said of Dadaism that it "was parallel, if you wish" (in Pierre Cabanne, Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp). He made no attempt to ‘be a Dadaist’ when he moved back to Europe after World War I.

Duchamp also did not embrace the ‘pure meaninglessness’ of Dada. Dada was intended make thinking irrelevant by making it impossible. Duchamp
s work is intended to make the spectator think.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chris
    This is right - Duchamp's work was posited as an intellectual, poetic and visual mode of presenting complexity akin to philosophy of the (to come) deconstructive kind. This ought to be a commonplace for artists but it's not because it takes time, and reading, and this has not been something that has been connected with Fine or High Art.