Last week opened exhibition on Marcel Duchamp in Lenbachhaus Kunstbau in Munich is certainly not a highlight of art events for me. Well, I am no expert to judge it, but the focus of the concept was not clear to me: was it Duchamp? Was it Munich in expressionist era? I thought that it would be about the time he spent in Munich and how it affected his work – but, again, I was not so clear on this message (as opposed to previous exhibition here, which I loved).
Nevertheless, you become rather speechless before some of his pieces. Its Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2 (1912) represents a breakthrough in art history not only because it combines cubist and futurist elements, depicting a female body by composing abstract conical and cylindrical elements and giving dynamics in its motion, but also because it is mimicking stop-motion photography by superimposing several images. It caused quite a stir, first at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris, where it was not shown in the end, and then at the 1913 Armory Show in New York.
As said by Kunstbau, this painting “captured the ideas and influences of a whole epoch in one iconic image. His readymades fundamentally altered our ideas of what art is, of how artists produce it, and of the institution of the museum – unlike no other idea in the art of the twentieth century”.
Exhibition can be seen until 15 July 2012.