Fountain Mediated: Marcel Duchamp’s Artwork and its Adapting Material Content

By Yannis Zavoleas.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper draws upon the relationship between artistic documentation and content over Marcel Duchamp’s sculpture work Fountain. The original Fountain was lost soon after it was created in 1917. Since then, Fountain has been reproduced in various media formats, such as photographs, descriptions and replicas. It may be argued that the mediated Fountains were treated as artworks of their own, meanwhile holding and aiding to increase the artistic aura of the original. Fountain is a special case for the following reasons: starting from 1917, it has triggered critical questions related to authenticity of artistic creation, such as whether an object of manufacture could be attributed artistic value, also whether reproductions of original artworks may be treated as artworks, too. Even so, Fountain’s artistic significance has been radically different over time. Rather surprisingly, a comparative examination of the mediated Fountains shows substantial differences in the objective information they present, to such an extent that artistic characterizations to which artwork is tied in principal, become questionable. A reverse relationship among the mediated Fountains and the original may be weaved, so that in documenting the artwork, its material content would even have to be modified in order to comply with the concurrent artistic standards.

Keywords: Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, Duchamp, Stieglitz, Artistic Documentation, Authenticity, Originality, Original/Copy, Artistic Reproduction

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.77-86. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.158MB).

Dr. Yannis Zavoleas

Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, Department of Sciences, University of Patras, Chania, Greece

Yannis Zavoleas teaches architectural design and digital media as Assistant Professor at Department of Architecture, University of Patras, Greece. Yannis uses digital technology conceptually as well as a design tool in order to explore new ways of spatial definition. He has practiced architecture since 1996; meanwhile he has worked in film post-production at SONY Imageworks Los Angeles, as Art Director for the “Games-to-Teach” research program at MIT/Microsoft and as video artist. He has published his work and presented in conferences and exhibitions about architecture, art and media. Yannis got his Professional Degree in Architecture at National Technical University of Athens, his Master in Architecture at UCLA and his MSc in Comparative Media Studies at MIT.

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