A fountain, Duchamp and the revolution of contemporary art

Fontana | Duchamp


Marcel Duchamp is mainly connected with the readymades, in other words, with his invention of taking an ordinary object created for a specific purpose and transforming it into a work of art.

Fountain” is one of the first readymades created by Marcel Duchamp in 1917 (the first one was Bicycle Wheel in 1913), and tells us that the eye can interpret an object in different ways, according to how we use it.

Image source: CycleMagazine.eu

Image source: CycleMagazine.eu

The artist reoriented a urinal (Duchamp was also an exponent of Dadaism), which is in itself an ordinary object, to a position 90 degrees from its normal position of use, making it in fact unusable, and wrote on it “R. Mutt 1917”. Duchamp submitted his work to the Society of Independent Artists, but it was never showed to the public; on the contrary, it seems that the artwork was thrown in the trash, like the majority of his readymades.

Duchamp’s revolutionary invention, however, would overwhelm art, which from this moment on, would not coincide with technical skill, and it would not demand necessarily that an artistic representation was immediately comprehensible.

According to Duchamp, the eye is guided by the mind, which can go beyond the utility of an object and transform it into a symbol.
From this moment on art disorients, asks questions, offers no answer, and the spectators need mediation, a leader, in order to understand the idea which is at the heart of an artistic creation.

The 20th century is the short century, and also the most complex century, because everything complicates, and artists have to interpret reality through new means.
The readymades offer a whole range of different possibilities.
This is contemporary art, and you how you feel in front of contemporary art?
Can you understand it, what is your favorite artist?

I look forward to reading your comments, but before I tell you that my favorite contemporary artists Damien Hirst and Keith Haring, and their works arriving in Italy in 2017 with two great exhibitions.


Duchamp’s Fountain, the copy of the original, is located at the Pompidou Center in Paris.
To find out what other masterpieces of art are kept, read the post immediately Centre Pompidou works: what you must see.

foto Duchamp

READ ALSO – Centre Pompidou tickets: how to buy your ticket to skip the line

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2 thoughts on “A fountain, Duchamp and the revolution of contemporary art

    • The history and life of Elsa Baroness van Fretag-Loringoven is similar to that of the Marquess Casati Stampa.
      She was a muse and a lover of many artists who took more from her than they gave her.
      Hard to say that she is the inventor of ready-made, but it was definitely a DADA-woman.

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