►► The Beautiful End Of Postduchampian Era

“Fountain” is simply a common human waste receptacle. Taking an object that is generally considered filthy and worthless, Duchamp converted it into an expensive art piece. He instilled value to an object most would consider valueless. Duchamp wanted to prove a point: by fabricating art and getting society to regard it as meaningful, we can increase its worth and value. With his art piece, Duchamp showed that in a postmodern world, truth is no longer dependent on its intrinsic value (a common, filthy receptacle); it depends extrinsically on how society defines it (an expensive piece of fine art).

On the first page of the prologue in the book “Marcel Duchamp The Failed Messiah” Wayne Andersen introduces the reader to the powerful gatekeepers of the postmodern art world, the men and women who collectively unleashed Duchamp on the 20th century. Citing a December 2004 editorial from the Guardian Weekly that proclaimed “Urinal Comes Out on Top” he reports a survey of 500 international artists, critics, curators, and art dealers, who confirmed that Duchamp’s urinal, named “Fountain” still remained at the end of the 20th century what it had been at its beginning: “The world’s most influential piece of modern art”.


Marcin Lodyga and Vladimir Umanets several times invoked Duchamp’s Fountain during the writing the Manifesto of Yellowism in the end of 2010 in Egypt. They marked on the studio floor in Cairo three fields: the context of reality, the context of art and the context of yellowism and they were walking on this diagram and commenting it more or less like that: the urinal in the context of reality fulfills its function and you can pee into it; the same urinal moved from reality to the context of art loses its usefulness and becomes a carrier for idea, is entitled, can be interpreted, it acquires the status of the work of art. And then this work of art, which, let’s say, now only looks like a urinal, we move in the context of yellowism. In yellowism, this work of art titled “Fountain” ceases to be a work of art and becomes a piece of yellowism therefore is about yellow and expresses yellow color and nothing more (notice: it is about yellow but not visually yellow).

Duchamp in the early twentieth century had two areas: 1 – reality, 2 – art, and he accomplished the shift from one context to another. After that, in art, there was nothing so revolutionary, radical and influential. Andy Warhol (pop art), Joseph Kosuth (conceptual art), Damien Hirst (newest art) did not come out of the shadow of Duchamp, despite the fact that their work is very important in the history of art. None of them have accomplished the latter important move (on the chessboard). So, to do something to measure Duchamp, to make an another revolution we had to reach to the point where, metaphorically speaking: if you want to walk, you need to create a piece of land which previously did not exist, in other words: define the third context, (which is not art nor a reality) and do the next step. The third context,  in which the works of Duchamp, Warhol, Kosuth and  Hirst cease to be works of art and become pieces about yellow color and express yellow color and nothing more. Notice: the first step – made by Duchamp – a transition from the territory of reality to the territory of art; the second step – made by Lodyga and Umanets – a transition from the territory of art to the territory of yellowism.

In the collection of the Tate Modern in London is one of the few authorized by Duchamp replicas of the “Fountain”. Hypothetically, if the Tate Modern would lend this readymade for the exhibition of yellowism, then the “Fountain” shown in the yellowistic chamber would cease to be a work of art. The world’s most influential piece of art would be a piece of yellowism and would equate with other pieces – each piece of yellowism is influential to the same extent.

Postmodernism or post-postmodernism in relation to visual art can be called “the postduchampian era”. If yellowism belongs to postmodernism, then it is the tip of postmodernism – its outermost piece. But if is not the part of postmodernism, is a completely new era. If Marcel Duchamp is a border point between the age of modernism and the time of postmodernism, therefore, perhaps, Marcin Lodyga and Vladimir Umanets are the border point between postmodernism and the era of yellowism or other era whose yellowism is the first conspicuous forerunner.

text by Marcin Lodyga

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