LE SLIP DE DUCHAMP 2013-14
"Le slip de Duchamp"
While walking in the pyrenees mountains of the basque country with my father, we saw a huge vulture fly very close over us and down into the valley below. I was thinking at the time for a title for my upcoming exhibit in Paris and it came to me in a flash. "Le slip de Duchamp"! In the Dada spirit, I thought, perfect!
"Le slip de Duchamp" which translates to "Duchamp's underwear" is a metaphor for the scope of explorations that I have been pursuing in my paintings. Duchamp's underwear is still here, full of intellectual sweat and secrets, you can wear his mysterious Dada underwear but it will only lead you around and around and then back to the beginning again.
Marcel Duchamp was one of my first influences when I was first starting to paint. Something about his nude descending the staircase had gotten a hold of me. Cubism in general was a great motivation for me with its multiple perspectives and almost scientific exploration of the two demential plane. First Cezanne, then Braque and Picasso but Duchamp seemed to be the most mysterious to my innocent eyes. As the years have passed and my exploration of painting has deepened, I began to realize Duchamp was the split in the road between modern and post modern art. His dada experiment "The fountain" was the first piece that challenged every conventional way of thinking about what art is and can be.
"Whether Mr. Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under a new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object." Marcel Dumchamp, (May 1917)
I am still not very comfortable with the thought that an idea is just as important as the art object itself. It always seemed very hollow and heady compared to the physical and emotional complexity of a painting or sculpture. I consider myself closer to a modernist painter, continuing to explore the subconscious through the medium itself, rather than the self-conscious mind of ideas.
What is interesting to me is that Duchamp officially stopped making art but secretly continued making a very elaborate work called "Etan donne" that was to be shown after his death. This piece seems to go full circle for me and return to the very essential basic desire and mystery of man.