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Title:The symbolism and self-imaging of Marcel Duchamp
Author(s):Lee, Charng-Jiunn Tosi
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Fineberg, Jonathan
Department / Program:Art History
Discipline:Art History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Religion, Philosophy of
Fine Arts
Art History
Abstract:Revered as "the father of modern art," Marcel Duchamp's idea inspired many new art forms after the 1960s including Neo-Dada, Op, Pop, Mobile Sculpture, Junk Art, Assemblage, Body Art, Happening, and Conceptual Art. Given his profound influence on contemporary and subsequent artists, Duchamp's own work remains extremely elusive and germinates all kinds of readings. The reason perhaps is that Duchamp consistently refused to explain more directly and clearly the meanings and sources of his works and ideas.
Though often seen as a Dadaist who was also closely related to the Surrealist movement, Duchamp joined without participating. Noticing that there did exist certain affinity between Dada and Far Eastern mysticism and that some art historians have sensed certain Oriental flavor in Duchamp's work, this dissertation represents a serious investigation of Duchamp's possible connection with the Far Eastern culture.
After pointing out the close resemblance between Duchamp's first readymade, The Bicycle Wheel (1913), and the sculptural representation of the Buddha's first sermon, the author continues to accumulate evidence that clearly suggest a link between Duchamp's work and the philosophy of Buddhism and Taoism, which often implies a profound concern for humanity. The author also finds in Duchamp's thinking a consistent epistemological inquiry that echoes the spirit of Ch'an (Zen) teachings.
The dissertation examines more than seventy major works by Duchamp made after 1913 (including the readymades, installations, graphic designs, machine-like structures, photographs, and gestures) and discusses many of Duchamp's Notes. It contains 200 plus illustrations of works by Duchamp and ancient Buddhist art. Detailed analyses and side by side comparisons of these works further confirm their relationship. It also makes great efforts to prove that these oriental sources were available to Duchamp when he made those works.
The conclusion is that not only is Duchamp's life work a spiritual process of the artist's self-discovery but also significantly coherent. The text ends with a mythic theme from the Greek source symbolizing the meeting of East and West culture, which, as the author argues, is the motif of Duchamp's last masterpiece, Etant donnes.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Lee, Charng-Jiunn Tosi
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9503249
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9503249

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