To mark the centenary of the first readymade (Ruota di bicicletta (Bicycle Wheel), 1913) by Marcel Duchamp, the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome is holding an exhibition which focuses on the itinerary of Duchamp's historic works, part of the legacy of Arturo Schwarz.
An opportunity to tell the story of the artist’s exhibitions in Italy in 1964 and 1965, and to describe the repercussions they had on the work of the Italian artists who came into direct contact with him. The exhibition concentrates on two particular exhibitions staged during that period: the exhibition in Milan at the Schwarz Gallery, from 5th June to 30th September 1964, and the exhibition in Rome at the Gavina Gallery in Via Condotti, in June 1965, arranged by Carlo Scarpa. Transforming things yet leaving them as they are, but defining them in a different way, gives a fascinating new identity to the objects involved. The alchemy of ready-made art is a fascinating part of Marcel Duchamp’s output. It’s certainly the part of his output that is best known to the public at large but it’s possibly not yet fully understood. We can find the icons of this part of his work, the emblems of this iconography in the collective imagination of his serial output: Bottle Dryer (Bottlerack); Fresh Widow; Why Not Sneeze Rose Sélavy; Fountain; Traveler’s Folding Item; In Advance of the Broken Arm; Piston de courant d’air (Draft piston); Roue de bicyclette (Bicycle wheel), and so on. These already famous examples of ready-made art, defined by André Breton as ‘mass-produced objects promoted by the artist’s creative ideas to being works of art’, are the result of absolute ‘accuracy of the imagination’, and it is precisely this accuracy that governs the process of transforming banal, everyday objects into works of art.
Because of his own particular form of artistic role-play, Marcel Duchamp is universally regarded as the father of contemporary art.