Over the past ten years, I have been collecting wire sculptors from street vendors. I have two simple requests, that the maker makes the name Marcel Duchamp and that it is accompanied by a blue flower. When Marcel Duchamp proposed the idea of ‘The Ready Made’ object as an artwork in the early 20th Century, he was questioning whether an artwork must be unique or hand-made. Duchamp’s selection of objects to call artworks was intentionally bland, things that were common and in everyday usage; things you could say blended into the background. But nothing is truly invisible and we create layers or degrees of importance to the world around us, sometimes at the expense of seeing what is magical about the world.
These images of wire pieces have been gathered on my travels and named after the city they were purchased. Being interested in individual gestures, I am drawn to the subtle differences between their makers technique. They appear to have learnt the same method for bending the wire yet they retain the individual skill or ‘eye’.
Each time I ask for a piece to be made. I write the name ‘Marcel Duchamp with a Blue Flower’ on a scrap of paper and leave with them. Duchamp is unknown to them and equal to the hundreds of names they produce each day.
Text related to the presentation of the Duchamps
For ‘Reception’ 7pm-8pm Tuesday 10th March, I invited the artist Ivor Davies as guest of honour at an informal event in the Chapter Gallery. In 1966, Ivor Davies met Marcel Duchamp. This meeting was part of a chain of meetings that frame the development of Modern Art placing anyone in the reception, 6 degrees of separation from Gustave Courbet who painting ‘The Meeting in 1956.
Gustave Courbet met Claude Monet, who met Henri Matisse, who met Marcel Duchamp, who met Ivor Davies whom you can meet.
Information on le degré as part of the Interference Programme was not available in the gallery but published in the Big Issue Magazine. The idea was to invite the buyer to be the link, degree, between the exhibition and ‘Iwan’, Big Issue Vendor who stands at the entrance of Chapter. I was interested in trying something that looked as the physical and social boundaries of the gallery.
Gallery text which included ‘Duchamps’.
Born on New Year’s Eve 1869, Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse was 44 at the outbreak of the First World War. While physically fit and willing to fight for his beloved France, the painter was told he was too old for action. To support those fighting he decided to buy 600 francs worth of bread every month and post it to the front.
This anecdote from the life of one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists became the starting point for the next project in the INTERFERENCE programme. Chapter studio resident, Richard Higlett will be looking at relative values through the creation of a limited number of ceramic baguettes which will be sold to support charities helping the homeless. These will feature as part of a larger installation in the space that was previously the gallery shop.
Richard Higlett works across a range of art forms as he believes the idea should dictate the mode in which it is represented. He has shown work throughout the UK and internationally in Montreal, Bruno, New York and Venice, Italy. In 2013, he received a Creative Wales Award from the Arts Council of Wales.
INTERFERENCE is part of a programme of short residencies that take place between exhibitions in the gallery and offer Wales-based artists a space to develop their studio practice