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INFORMATION by andrew mcinerney on 2007-07-17
The first group of artists to officially use an object in artworks were the Dada artists of New York, precisely, Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp experimented with the concept of ready-made artworks, in which he took a regular object of mass production or general use, and recontextualised it to become an “Artwork”. He was the first artist to suggest conceptual based art, when in 1917 he took a commercial porcelain urinal, signed it “R Mutt”, in paint and entered it in an exhibition as a piece of art entitled Fountain. The young French artist stated that he was ‘more interested in the ideas than the finished product’ and although his work was rejected from the exhibit, his ‘readymade’ was challenging the notion of art and artist. He reduced the creative and art making process to a point where artist was no longer necessary, or that the artist could determine any activity ‘art’ as part of their thought processes and therefore make the used object or activity legitimate art. Duchamp argued that the artists intentions and not the manner or medium of his/her work was the most important part of art making, and that the world was full of many interesting objects that, with a change of emphasise and context, could be appreciated as art. Duchamp’s ready-made works changed the face of art forever and would be held in high regard with the Dada movement, and in some cases the Surrealist movement.