The Silence of Duchamp Was Overrated/ Am I Going in Circles

Essay by Luke Foster

“Tradition is the great misleader because it’s too easy to follow what has already been done – even though you may think you’re giving it a kick. I was really trying to invent, instead of merely expressing myself.” Marcel Duchamp

My favourite artist Joseph Beuys made an artwork about one of my other favourite artists Marcel Duchamp who arguably was the most influential artist of that century. The artwork called the Silence of Duchamp Was Overrated was about how Duchamp famously gave up art to play chess. I chose this title as well as I also gave up exhibiting art for almost a decade many years ago and just drawing at home.

“The legendary action The Silence of Marcel Duchamp is Overrated (1964) is one of Beuys’s artistic confrontations with the “father figure” Duchamp. The title already speaks of Beuys’s ambivalent relationship to Duchamp, the master of staged skepticism and ironic distance.”

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The silence of Duchamp was overrated by Joseph Beuys

I am still working on my installation for open day at the Blue Mountains open day so I shall write more about it with photos on my website in about two weeks.

The other half of the title is: Am I Going in Circles which is about the self-doubt in my art and writing which in small doses can be helpful as it drives you to not repeat yourself and examine your ideas intuitively and logically.

Duchamp with one of his ready-mades.

In conclusion I feel its ok to be influenced by other artists as long as you eventually wrestle your ideas out of the process.

This is the work in progress at my Blue Mountains studio residency. It’s a work in progress and the director Rae Bolotin is great at giving advice on how to edit it down to the essentials.
This is me dressed as Joseph Beuys but the fedora hat hasn’t arrived in the mail yet but I am thinking of dressing up as him for a month everyday maybe at home in Australia or while I am in New York in February. Maybe it would be hot doing it during the Australian summer.  He has had such a huge impact on me that I want to honor his memory and acknowledge  the impact he has had on my art.

I love Beuys drawings particularly the early stuff like this one. So sensitive and intuitive.