(*The following are excerpts and reactions to a Marcel Duchamp interview which took place in the issue of The Art Newspaper No. 27, April 1993 conducted by Jean Antoine)
I want to start off by saying that I believe Marcel Duchamp to be one of the most influential and intelligent artist of our time. With that said let’s start the discussion..
“JA: When you gave up painting, did you believe that painting was dead?
MD: No. First, you know, I haven’t given up painting; if I get an idea for a painting tomorrow, I’ll do it. I didn’t make any hard and fast resolutions at all, of any kind. I simply stopped because I didn’t have anything more to say at the time. I had run out of ideas; ideas don’t come as easily as all that. “
What I find most interesting about this response is the steadfastness with which Duchamp defended his choice to not paint and the supplemental comment that it was because he didn’t have anything more to say at the time.
I wonder if there comes a moment when an artist realizes that they have exhausted a medium and makes the conscious choice (as Duchamp did) to move onto something new; a realization that the ideas that are forming are taking a new shape and direction that the current medium cannot articulate fully anymore.
I believe this idea to be true in twofold. Personally I know because I made the conscious choice to give up photography years ago in favor of painting; however I still see beautiful images and take pictures in my mind all the time. I felt as Duchamp did that I had said all I needed to say through photography and that investigating the power of painting was simply the next evolutionary step in the creative process.
I also see this theory in the new media art that has evolved over the last 10 years. Video, computer and interactive/participatory art has taken off and has become a staple in exhibitions worldwide. No longer is photography or painting the go to mediums for a generation raised on tablets and smartphones. This new era of artists are cross bred, multidisciplinary, smart, and believe that all mediums are up for grabs, that the ideas are the most important part.
I agree and want to encourage young artist to continue the Pursuit through the medium that is truest to their hearts and vision. Go forth and make new artwork that is bold, refreshing, and challenges the norms we have put in place.
Only through your intervention, inventions, and Passion will art be taken to the next level.