Saturday 7 March
We Will Wait
Serkan Özkaya / Artist, based in New York City
This presentation introduces Özkaya’s work We Will Wait, which takes Duchamp’s last work Étant donnés as a camera obscura. Beginning with his inspirations (from Anne Friedberg to Leonardo; from Alberti to camera obscura), he then outlines the conception of the idea and phenomenological research and experts’ involvements. Özkaya will describe his efforts in building a life-size replica of Étant donnés, installing it at Duchamp’s studio where it was found 50 years ago, showing it to people and the discussion it created.
Serkan Ozkaya is a Turkish-American conceptual artist whose work deals with topics of appropriation and reproduction, and typically operates outside of traditional art spaces. His latest work, We Will Wait, is a recreation of Marcel Duchamp’s Étant donnés, that was installed at Duchamp’s studio in New York and functioned as a camera obscura. Ozkaya is the author and editor of eleven publications, including the guest edited journal issue PUBLIC ATTENDANT A to Z (2017), which brings together research on Duchamp’s Étant donnés.Ozkaya’s artworks are held in the permanent collections of the Istanbul Modern, Arter, and Borusan Contemporary Art in Istanbul, as well as three different 21c Museum locations in Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee.
The Subterranean Modernism of Marcel Duchamp and Georges Bataille
Jaime Tsai / The National Art School
Working separately, but in dialogue with the same inter-war protagonists, Duchamp and Bataille developed a counter-modern aesthetics that consciously rejected the avant-garde rhetoric of Le Corbusier’s Purism and André Breton’s Surrealism. In order to destabilize these ideological programs, Duchamp and Bataille mobilized a subterranean aesthetics of dust, darkness, and formlessness that provided an alternative to modernist dialectics, and a critique of the two paradigms of transcendence that encouraged capitalist instrumentalization and uniformity on the one hand, and impotent romanticism and ‘retinal’ dogmatism on the other.
Jaime Tsai is a Sydney-based art historian, curator, and lecturer in the Art History and Theory department of the National Art School, Australia. Her doctoral thesis at the University of Sydney explored the spatial practice of Marcel Duchamp. Her research explores the strategies of Dada and Surrealism in contemporary practice, and her current book project examines how these strategies inform alternative epistemologies in contemporary Australian art. Tsai’s publications include “Equivocal Taxonomies: Fiona Hall and the Logic of Display” in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art (2016), and the forthcoming chapter “Pixel Pirates: theft as strategy in the art of Joan Ross and SodaJerk” in Dada Data: Contemporary art practice in the era of post-truth politics (Bloomsbury, 2020). Her most recent exhibition CAUGHT STEALING (2019) explored diverse approaches to Dada-inspired theft as a strategy in contemporary Australian art.
Unchamp, a Cyclops: Looking with One Eye, Close to, from the Other Side of the Glass Maxwell Hyett / PhD Student, Western University
Jean Clair wrote that linear perspective “is a monstrous, artificial, and, finally, a mythic vision, with something of Cyclops and the Medusa in its nature, flattening the world and turning it to stone.” This is one of only a few texts that have addressed, and only to a limited extent, Duchamp’s To Be Looked at (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour (1918), often referred to as the ‘small glass.’ This work, made as a study for his Large Glass, has been associated with Duchamp’s theoretical engagements with monocular and binocular vision, as well as constructions of differing spatial dimensions. Yet, far from petrifying vision, the ‘small glass’ activates and explores another kind of vision, a cyclopean vision that navigates non-Euclidean perspective.
Maxwell Hyett is a writer, artist and theorist, currently completing his PhD at The Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism at Western University. His work explores issues of meaning, possibility and the fuzzy limits between virtuality and reality. Hyett’s publications include the essays “Use(ful/less) Schematics” in Drain 15.1 (2018) and “The Poking of Christ: Death, Fakes and the Digital” in tba: Journal of Art, Media, and Visual Culture 1.1 (2019), as well as collaborative book reviews in Dada/Surrealism and Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy.
Setting Snares: Lyotard, Duchamp and Michael Snow
Elizabeth Legge / University of Toronto
This paper considers Michael Snow’s interactions with Jean-François Lyotard. Snow’s film La Région Centrale is first singled out in Lyotard’s essay “The Unconscious as Mise-en-Scène.” At the time, Snow seems to function as a variant Duchamp, as Duchamp had been formulated in Lyotard’s contemporaneous Les Transformateurs Duchamp (1977). The technology of Snow as much as that of Duchamp might be construed as a “dystopic machinery of n-dimensional places.”
Elizabeth Legge is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Toronto. She has written on Dada, Surrealism and contemporary Canadian and British art, in a number of journals including Art History, Word and Image and Representations. Her intellectual interests include: the ways that artists have worked with and against language, and the relationship of language and image; and the instrumental uses of religious, racial, and national stereotypes and rhetorics in art. Legge is the author of Max Ernst: The Psychoanalytic Sources (1989) and Michael Snow: Wavelength (2009).
Marcel Duchamp’s 50cc of Paris Air: Dada, Dissemination and Contagion
David Hopkins / University of Glasgow
In a new reading of Duchamp’s Ampoule of Paris Air (1919) this paper situates this readymade in relation to the concept of Dada as ‘Virgin Microbe’ which was prevalent in early conceptualizations of the movement. Duchamp’s fascination with air as a subject is seen as linked to broader concerns with themes of invisibility, transmission and contagion.
David Hopkins is a Professor of Art History at the University of Glasgow. His broad areas of specialism are Dada and Surrealism, the history and theory of post-1945 art, and twentieth-century photography. He is the author of numerous books including Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst: The Bride Shared (1998), Marcel Duchamp [with Dawn Ades and Neil Cox] (1999), After Modern Art. 1945-2000 (2000), Dada and Surrealism: A Very Short Introduction (2004) and Dada’s Boys: Masculinity After Duchamp (2007). Hopkins’ current book, Childish Things: The Tradition of Surrealism and the Discourse of Childhood, will be published by Yale University Press.
Duchamp in Exile: The Exchange in the Bohemian Underground
Celia Rabinovitch / University of Manitoba
Marcel Duchamp frequently created free exchanges that enhanced mutual energy and creativity. The kinship of the bohemian underground informed his practice of exchange. Duchamp’s escape from World War II to New York increased the exchanges among between European “artists in exile” and American artists, re-establishing an ethnographic practice uncovered by early French anthropologists. This presentation frames a mode of exchange arising from ethnographic ideas and modern sources, that defines audacious bohemia—throughout the last century.
Celia Rabinovitch, an artist, writer, and scholar, weaves the artist’s experience into a nuanced understanding of modern art, history, cultural anthropology, and comparative mythology. Her second book, Duchamp’s Pipe: A Chess Romance – Marcel Duchamp & George Koltanowski, has just been released. Her first book, Surrealism and the Sacred: Power, Eros, and the Occult in Modern Art, uncovers the struggle between sacred and secular forces in art from prehistory to Surrealism; her other articles explore connections among art, biography, poetry, and spiritual experience. Educated at McGill University (PhD, religions) and the University of Wisconsin (MFA, painting), Rabinovitch has held professorial and directorship positions at U.C. Berkeley, University of Colorado, University of Manitoba, the San Francisco Art Institute and Syracuse University. Her luminous paintings have been shown in Canada, Europe, and the US—including the 2019 international exhibition on climate change at the Dr. Bernard Heller Museum, HUC-JIR, in New York.
I.O.U’s and a Practice Deferred: On Duchampian Refusals of Work
Nare Mokgotho / Artist, based in Johannesburg
Marcel Duchamp’s love of chess was well known, so much so that in the early 1920s, rumours circulated that he had traded making art for playing chess. While Duchamp never abandoned making art, for many, his devotion to chess is emblematic of his ‘refusal of work’. This component of Duchamp’s practice has had the most enduring impact on my own work. Apart from collaborative projects, my practice over the passed decade has been characterized by acts of deferral, avoidance and refusal. This thematic thread can be traced to an early work entitled Postdated Solvency (2010) in which I stamped the phrase I.O.U onto a postdated cheque, as both an acknowledgement of debt and a postponement of artistic production. In this paper I want to read Postdated Solvency through the framework of Duchamp’s ‘refusal of work’. However, I want to move beyond a consideration of Duchamp’s ‘refusal of work’ as something that simply challenges capitalist notions of production and productivity, but to think through the possibilities offered to modern subjectivity more broadly by such acts of refusal and deferral.
Nare Mokgotho is a South African visual artist, one half of artist collaborative MADEYOULOOK (MYL), and a commercial director. As part of MADEYOULOOK, Mokgotho’s interests have centred on notions of knowledge production, making visible under-addressed histories and experiences in contemporary South Africa, as well as engaging black classed imaginaries and everyday life. He holds a Masters in Fine Art degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, where his research examined boredom as an aesthetic in South African art and photography.
The Fine Art of Bureaucracy: Duchamp and Broodthaers
Emily Dickson / Masters student, OCAD University
This presentation considers the bureaucratic logic of the Readymade, distinct if yet overlapped by a museological or otherwise institutional logic. Drawing from my larger project that asks why in the last twenty years there has been such an outpouring of art dealing with bureaucracy, and what conclusions might be drawn from a close analysis of these, I consider here one early point at which a bureaucratic aesthetics might be registered, here in the work of Marcel Duchamp and Marcel Broodthaers.
Emily Dickson is a writer and theorist, presently completing her MA in Contemporary Art History at OCAD University. Her research focuses on contemporary art and critical theory, taking particular interest in interfaces between bureaucracy and direct action, as well as the aesthetic dimensions of the extra-legal. Dickson’s publications include “Object-hood’s Indecencies: Tilted Arc and the Lessons Learnt in Breakdown” in Open Philosophy (2019).
Sunday 8 March
Visual Cast: Duchamp’s Given and contemporary digital advancements in recording, constructing and imaging in art and architecture
In this paper I put across a hypothesis regarding the significance of photogrammetry and stereoscopy in the conception and construction of Marcel Duchamp’s last enigmatic work Given. I support that Duchamp may have used photogrammetry to record and visually mould the physical form of the nude figure. I also propose that the installation, similar to a stereoscopic camera obscura, creates an ethereal inverted projection of a three-dimensional simulacrum of the assemblage in the space in front of Given’s door. The aim of the paper is to link Duchamp’s alleged use of photogrammetry and stereoscopy to contemporary advancements in digital technology for recording, constructing and imaging in art, architecture and beyond. More specifically, I see his creation of a visual cast of the nude figure as an early form of 3D printing and the inverted projection of the interior of the assemblage as an early form of Augmented Reality (AR). Using examples from contemporary art and architecture, the paper will reflect on the change in our relationship with matter, space and objects that these technologies introduce and how this projects back to Duchamp’s ideas of the ready-made, but also his concepts of appearance and apparition: accelerating Duchamp.
Penelope Haralambidou is Associate Professor and Director of Communications at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. She coordinates MArch PG24, where she promotes a highly innovative research-based teaching methodology that uses digital film and immersive environments to re-think architectural design through time. Her research employs architectural drawing, model-making and digital film as investigatory tools to analyse ideas and work, not only in architecture, but also visual representation, the politics of vision, art and cinema. Her work has been exhibited internationally. Her solo show, ‘City of Ladies’, presenting her recent practice-led research on Christine de Pizan’s proto-feminist text The Book of the City of Ladies, 1405, was hosted at DomoBaal gallery in 2020. Haralambidou is the author of the monograph Marcel Duchamp and the Architecture of Desire (2013).
Apropos of Duchampian Accelerationism
In 1913 Marcel Duchamp had the happy idea to fasten a bicycle wheel to a kitchen stool and created the first of what he would soon designate as Readymades. This mode of artistic production plays with a fundamental modernist distinction between art object and objects in the more general sense—defined in a world of consumer capitalism that is based within ready-made logics of various kinds. Locating the Readymade in relation to capitalist treatments of objects, this paper argues for a specifically Duchampian form of accelerationism that pushes modern aesthetics to the point of excess through a strategic reconsideration of object-oriented relations.
Julian Jason Haladyn is an art historian, cultural theorist and professor at OCAD University. He is the author of Duchamp, Aesthetics, and Capitalism (2019), Aganetha Dyck: The Power of the Small (2017), Boredom and Art: Passions of the Will To Boredom (2014) and Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés (2010), and co-editor, with Michael E. Gardiner, of the Boredom Studies Reader (2016).
What was and was not Readymade: Marcel Duchamp’s 1918-19 Sojourn in Buenos Aires
On August 13, 1918, Marcel Duchamp wrote to Francis Picabia that “I leave tomorrow for Buenos Aires for a year or two, with no particular goal.” Four months later he will write to a friend that “Buenos Aires does not exist – just a large provincial town full of very rich people with absolutely no taste.” In the correspondence that follows until Duchamp departs from Buenos Aires in June 1919, he writes of playing chess and how the few people who have heard of Cubism have no idea of the meaning of modern art. The Argentine artists and writers who will create Buenos Aires and give meaning to modern art – Xul Solar, Emilio Pettoruti, Jorge Luis Borges – were living in Europe at the time and would not return until the 1920s. This paper explores Duchamp’s self-imposed exile in Buenos Aires as a missed encounter with the modern art of Argentina and addresses the metropole/periphery dynamics of art history that position Latin American art as derivative of the European avant-garde.
Dot Tuer is a writer, historian, and cultural theorist whose research focuses on Latin American and Canadian art, with a specific expertise in photography, new media and performance art. She also has a scholarly interest in colonial Latin American history and Indigenous-European relations. She is the author of Mining the Media Archive and has published widely in museum catalogues, book anthologies, art magazines, and academic journals. She has curated numerous exhibitions, including a retrospective of Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Frida and Diego: Passion, Politics, and Painting, held at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2012-13. Her current creative and scholarly work examines the intersection of cultural memory, visual storytelling, and artistic practices of commemoration in the Americas. Tuer is a Professor at OCAD University.
Duchamp and the Play of Distances
This paper explores Duchamp’s operation, the way he distanced himself from the art world and managed to install this same distance “within” the art world. He introduced an irrecuperable void in the art world – “visual indifference” is one of those devices – that cannot be recuperated by the art institution then (and now). The ready-mades have an “originary” power that cannot be glossed over by time. They are “originals” in that sense, and the art world has to function with that void since the readymade was introduced. I take his entire work, both in and outside of the art world, as a performative act to distance himself from late 19th and early 20th century art institutions, and forced the art world to accept this “distance” within itself.
Born in Hong Kong, Yam Lau is an artist/writer based in Toronto. His creative work explores new expressions and qualities of space, time and the image through the application of painting, computer-animation and digital video. In addition, Lau has initiated a number of independent projects such as using his car (Toronto) and a donkey (Donkey Institute of Contemporary Art, Beijing, China) as on-going mobile project spaces. He is represented by the Katzman Kamen Gallery in Toronto and Yuanfen New Media Art Space in Beijing, China. Currently, Lau is professor of painting at York University, Toronto.
Duchamp’s Replicas in Changing Curatorial Contexts
Adina Kamien-Kazhdan / David Rockefeller Senior Curator, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Replication and originality are central concepts in the artistic oeuvre of Marcel Duchamp. The recent publication Remaking the Readymade reveals the underlying and previously unexplored processes and rationales for the collaboration between Duchamp, Man Ray, and scholar-poet-dealer Arturo Schwarz on the replication of readymades and objects in the 1960s and early 1970s. Even though the replicas undermined ideas of authorship and rendered the notion of identity and the artist problematic, they paradoxically shared in the aura of the originals, becoming stand-ins for the readymades.
The proposed paper aims to expand this analysis looking at Duchamp’s activity within the realm of replication within the broader context of art history, from Rome to the digital age. This examination will intensify and complicate our understanding of Duchamp’s concepts, and raise questions about replication and authorship that will stimulate significant debate about the legacy of the artist, the continuing significance of his work, and the meaning of terms such as creativity, originality, and value in the formation of art.
Adina Kamien is Senior Curator of Modern Art at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and lecturer in modern art at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. She has curated numerous exhibitions, including No Place Like Home, which focused on the transformed domestic object in modern and contemporary art (The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2017; Berardo Museum, Lisbon, 2018). As Curator-in-charge of the Vera and Arturo Schwarz Collection of Dada and Surrealist Art in the Israel Museum, Kamien has authored numerous catalogues and articles on Dada and Surrealism, and her book Duchamp, Man Ray, and the Conundrum of the Replica was published by Routledge in 2018. Her current exhibition, Bodyscapes, explores the ways in which the human body has served as a structure to organize knowledge. Bringing together artifacts dating from the eighth century BCE to the present day, the exhibition examines questions of proportion and analogies between the human form and nature.
Duchamp’s Curatorial Work
A reflection to the ideas covered in the symposium that considers key questions and concepts raised amongst the various papers and discussions. If the goal of this event is to imagine an accelerated Duchamp, this response will consider specifically how this accelerated Duchamp was defined during the symposium.
Maya Wilson-Sanchez is a writer, researcher and curator. She recently completed an MA in Art History at the University of Toronto. In 2019, she was awarded an Editorial Residency at Canadian Art and was also the inaugural Curatorial Resident at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, where she took part in developing exhibitions by artist Deanna Bowen and filmmaking collective Isuma. Wilson-Sanchez has published essays, reviews and exhibition texts in multiple venues including The Senses and Society journal and in the anthology Other Places: Reflections on Media Arts in Canada (2019).
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