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One Rock Upon AnotherMarcel Duchamp, Jules Verne, Max Bill, Joseph Beuys, Fischli | Weiss, Ai Weiwei

excerpt
Preamble
(p. 185)


The six essays that have been collected here were written between 2013 and 2017. Half of them deal with important though hitherto ignored or only rudimentarily discussed aspects of the connection between Joseph Beuys, Max Bill, Fischli | Weiss, and Ai Weiwei and the various artistic concepts of Marcel Duchamp. The essay “Joseph Beuys—The Silence Of Marcel Duchamp Is Overrated: A Misunderstanding,” written as early as 2013, describes, for example, how Beuys's most famous performance on German television (ZDF) in 1964 came about and goes on to explain why its direct reference to the then suddenly prevailing myth—namely that Duchamp had long since given up the production of art, adopting silence as his ultimate artistic concept—was based on a calamitous misunderstanding. The text “Max Bill, Fischli | Weiss, and Marcel Duchamp” tells us why it was not Walter Hopps who mounted Duchamp's first solo exhibition in a public institution but Max Bill, and also how familiar Peter Fischli and David Weiss had actually been with this now forgotten exhibition, and that, in 1984, they appropriated Duchamp's unrealized idea for a work that was to be titled Équilibre and used it for their own artistic purposes. “Hanging Man In Porcelain: Ai Weiwei's ‘Homages' to Marcel Duchamp” examines why this famous Chinese artist and dissident cites Marcel Duchamp in almost all his major works. The fourth essay—“The Green Ray”—is the first to examine the influence of Jules Verne's same-titled novel on Duchamp's major idea of the Bride and the Bachelors in The Large Glass (fig. 21). The fifth essay—“Fischli | Weiss: Suddenly This Overview”—analyzes the important substantive components of two clay sculptures from this early major work of the famous Swiss artist duo, while the sixth essay—“Always Double And Infrathin”—deals concisely and pointedly with the theme of duplication and the idea of inframince in Duchamp's great legacy, the diorama Étant donnés (figs. 19a and 19b), a work that has for years played an important role in Stefan Banz's theoretical and artistic explorations.
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