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Readymade: The Unusual As An Artistic Manifesto

In artistic circles, the concept of readymades, introduced by Marcel Duchamp at the beginning of the 20th century, is one of the most revolutionary and controversial ideas. This concept challenged the traditional boundaries of artistic creation, opening a new horizon for photography and visual arts. Through readymades, Duchamp presented a provocative reflection on the nature of art, creativity and cultural perception.

The essence of readymades lies in the selection and presentation of everyday objects as art. Duchamp, by signing a urinal and titling it "Fountain" in 1917, much more than creating an iconic work, he questioned the established conventions of art. He proposed that the choice and context given to the object by an artist could elevate it to the category of a work of art. This approach opened the door to a discussion about what constitutes art and the role of the artist in society.

In the field of photography and visual arts, readymades have a significant influence. The idea that a common object can be transformed into art just by the way it is perceived or framed is parallel to the essence of photography. In photography, the recording of everyday moments, banal objects or common scenes, through a single lens and a perspective creative, can transform the ordinary into extraordinary. Thus, photographers, like Duchamp, are curators of reality, choosing and isolating moments and objects to redefine them as art.

Furthermore, readymades challenge photographers and visual artists to rethink the role of technical skill and originality. In an era where reproducibility is facilitated by digital technology, creative choice and the context given to an object or image become increasingly important. Thus, artistic value, far beyond manual creation, encompasses the vision and intention behind the work.

The legacy of readymades is also reflected in conceptual art and pop art, movements that continue to influence photography and visual arts contemporaries. They remind us that art can be found everywhere, not just in galleries and museums, but on the streets, in homes and in everyday life. Every object, every scene has the potential to become a work of art, depending on how it is seen and interpreted.

cards from a game
Photo by Giovanni Andri 🇧🇷

Thus, Duchamp's readymades invite us to see the world through a different lens. For photographers and visual artists, they represent an opportunity to explore beyond traditional techniques, to experiment with perceptions and finding beauty and meaning in our surroundings. Readymades provoke us to question, observe and reimagine, transforming the way we perceive art and reality.

Written by Angela Rosana, find out more about me here.

Credits to the photographers appear in the images, with links to their respective Instagram profiles. Find out more about each person’s work!

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