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Jacob Wamberg: Un/veiling Duchamp’s Fountain: From penetrated urinal to ready maid

Aesthetic Seminar

2020.08.21 | Yasmin Marie Jensen

Date Thu 12 Nov
Time 14:15 17:00
Location Kasernen, Aarhus University, Langelandsgade 139, Aarhus C, Bygning 1584 lokale 112

Even though Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (1917) counts as the most discussed singular artwork of the twentieth century, it still retains some surprisingly unappreciated layers of significance. This lecture will show that the urinal as photographed by Alfred Stieglitz and further photo-manipulated by Duchamp comprises a visual meta-commentary on the very operative mode of the readymade: that it generates its newness by displacing and remediating an already existing utensil. Subtly referencing how Christian, Buddhist and Theosophical mysticism may be mapped unto the urinal as an echo of anatomical illustrations of the female genitalia, Duchamp creates an extended ecology that fuses metabolism with sexuality, mechanics with organicism, and technology with art. Hereby the machinic drainer of bodily waste, the urinal, is metamorphosed into first a worn vagina, and then into a refreshed womb, a mechanic ready maid, from which ever new (an)artistic works may be generated.

The seminar is public, and we welcome everybody.     

Seminar, Kunsthistorie, Æstetik & Kultur og Museologi, Contemporary Aesthetics and Technology