IN 2005, THE CENTRE POMPIDOU CURATED A SURVEY, “THE OBJECT IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY”, TRACING THE HISTORY OF OBJECTS IN OUR WESTERN PICTORIAL TRADITION.
THE OBJECT HAS APPEARED THROUGHOUT HISTORY SINCE ANTIQUITY. IN THE 16th CENTURY, HOWEVER, THE REPRESENTATION OF INANIMATE OBJECTS BECAME QUITE SEPARATE AS A GENRE IN ITSELF: THE STILL LIFE. SKULLS, MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, MIRRORS, BASKETS OF FLOWERS AND FRUITS SEEM TO ENCLOSE THE VIEWER IN THE MUTE WORLD OF THINGS.
DUTCH PAINTING IN THE 16TH AND 17TH CENTURIES WAS FULL OF TABLES ARRAYED WITH CRYSTALLINE GLASSES AND PEELED FRUIT, WHILE THE VANITAS BECAME ESTABLISHED IN FRANCE, WHERE A CENTURY LATER THE UNDISPUTED GENIUS OF THE GENRE. CHARDIN, WOULD RISE TO PROMINENCE. THE STILL LIFE WAS ALSO CEZANNE’S PREFERRED REALM OF PICTORIAL PRODUCTION, SINCE IT OFFERS AN INEXHAUSTIBLE REPERTOIRE OF FORMS, COLORS AND DIFFERENT KINDS OF LIGHT. THE CUBISTS WOULD SEE IT AS THE GENRE BEST SUITED TO CONVEY THE QUESTION OF THE REPRESENTATION OF SPACE IN PAINTING. WITH HIS REVOLUTIONARY STILL LIFE WITH CHAIR CANING, AS EARLY AS 1912, PICASSO BROUGHT INTO THE PICTURE A PIECE OF OILCLOTH FOR THE CANING AND AN ACTUAL ROPE TO GIVE MATERIAL PRESENCE TO THE OVAL OF THE CHAIR’S FRAME.
BUT THE RADICAL GESTURE BELONGED TO MARCEL DUCHAMP WHO TRANSFORMED THE MANUFACTURED EVERYDAY OBJECT, THE READYMADE, INTO A WORK OF ART BY MEANS OF NOTHING MORE THAN HIS DECLARATION THAT IT WAS SO. PIERO MANZONI’S CONTRIBUTION TO THIS AVANT-GARDE APPROACH INTRODUCED RADICALLY UNCONVENTIONAL MATERIALS AND IN THE UNITED STATES IN THE SIXTIES, ELLSWORTH KELLY CHALLENGED THE TRADITIONAL DEFINITION AND FORMAT OF PAINTING BY CREATING SHAPED OBJECTS OF PURE FORM AND COLOR.
THANKS TO DOUG FLAMM’S INFORMED EYE, GAGOSIAN GALLERY’S RARE BOOK EXPERT HAS SELECTED THREE VERY SPECIAL BOOKS THAT COVER DIFFERENT PERIODS AND ISMS OF ART BUT SPEAK IN TERMS OF THE UNIQUE VISION OF EACH ARTIST’S AESTHETIC RELATIONSHIP TO THE OBJECT.
In the concept of the readymade that expanded our parameters of the definition of art, Marcel Duchamp became associated with an assault on the conventional understanding of art’s nature and status. Duchamp also used readymades as parts of a private symbolic language. He spoke of how using prefabricated objects freed him from the ‘trap’ of developing a particular style or taste. Duchamp did very little painting after 1912, creating the first of his “readymades” ‘in 1913. These were ordinary objects of everyday use, sometimes slightly altered, and designated works of art by the artist. His earliest readymades included Bicycle Wheel (1913), a wheel mounted on a wooden stool, and a snow shovel entitled In Advance of the Broken Arm (1915). One of his best-known pieces is a urinal, titled Fountain and signed ‘R. Mutt’
Eau et Gaz à Tous les Étages
Accompanied by a self- portrait of Duchamp signed “Marcel Dechiravit,” with
a hand-colored collotype
of The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (the Large Glass), an original pochoir frontispiece, and a pochoir
of the readymade Eau et Gaz à Tous les Étages signed by Duchamp.
Piero Manzoni di Chiosca e Poggiolo, better known as Piero Manzoni, was an Italian artist best known for his ironic approach to avant-garde art. Often compared to the work of Yves Klein, his own work anticipated, and directly influenced, the work of a generation of younger Italian artists brought together by the critic Germano Celant in the first Arte Povera exhibition held in Genoa, 1967. Manzoni is most famous for a series of artworks that call into question the nature of the art object, directly prefiguring Conceptual Art. His work eschews normal artist’s materials, instead using everything from rabbit fur to human excrement in order to “tap mythological sources and to realize authentic and universal values”. Piero Manzoni
Texts by Johannes Cladders and Udo Kultermann
Mönchengladbach, Germany: Städtisches Museum Mönchengladbach, 1969.
This limited-edition catalogue for Piero Manzoni’s posthumous 1969–70 exhibition at the Städtisches Museum Mönchen- gladbach comes encased in a clear plastic box with eight indents. The catalogue includes twenty-two black-and-white offset images. With essays by Johannes Cladders and Udo Kultermann (in German). From an edition of 440 copies.
Paris: Trianon Press, 1959.
This is the deluxe edition of the first catalogue raisonné of the work of Marcel Duchamp, containing 208 detailed entries and an extensive bibliography. The box, designed by Duchamp, includes a signed readymade mounted on the front cover, reading: “Eau et Gaz à Tous les Étages.”
Mounted to the red cloth-covered box is autoportrait de profil of Duchamp, signed “Marcel Dechiravit.” The box has two hinged panels of an acetate reproduction and a collotype reproduction, with the former depicting a scale-version of Duchamp’s famous The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (the Large Glass). From an edition of 137 copies
Ellsworth Kelly’s work can be viewed in terms of what it is not. unlike the painting of the abstraction expressionist and color field artists at the time, Kelly had no desire to make works involving expression, conceptual organization, depiction, or narrative. He was willing to drop traditional painting’s insistence on the square or rectangular frame to pursue departures of vision and experience.
Derriere Le Miroir, No. 149
Containing five original lithographs
Paris: Maeght Editeur, 1964.
Ellsworth Kelly produced five original lithographs for this issue of Derrière le Miroir, the French art magazine created in 1946
and published until 1982. This deluxe issue was printed on Arches paper and is housed in the original chemise and slipcase. Unlike the prints from the regular edition, the print quality of the deluxe edition is superlative in its color and feel. From an edition of 150 copies, signed by the artist.
DOUG, WARM REGARDS AND ENORMOUS THANKS FROM THE LRFA BLOG FOR THIS YEAR’S CONTRIBUTION.
HAPPY NEW YEAR AND NEW DECADE TO ONE AND ALL!