concept remains and this becomes a myth. A similar mythization of the object can be encountered in the first presentation of the Fountain. We can imagine that everyone expected Duchamp to present a controversial avant-garde artistic gesture11. Duchamp sent in the Fountain, signed with a different name, to the exhibition at the Society of Independent Artists – which he was also a cofounder of as well as on its committee. By signing it with an assumed name he indirectly avoided personal involvement, which made it easier for him to leave the society once the work was rejected from the exhibition. When the exhibition was brought to an end he started an action in support of the mysterious R.Mutt: he convinced Stieglitz to photograph Fountain and exhibited the photograph in Gallery 291, in support of R.Mutt he also published the photograph in a ‘thematic’ number of the avant-garde newspaper The Blind Man, for which Duchamp was also an editor. The letter of support for R.Mutt was supposedly written by a blind reader, however it is assumed that the true author was Duchamp who might have been helped by co-editor Wood. The introduction exposes that it is not important whether Mister Mutt made the Fountain by himself or not – it is important that he selected it and gave it its new use by placing it into a different context and rechamp made meticulous copies, which longer had the rough gesture, R.Mutt’s1917 signature obtained its form in the successors. 11 The painting Nu descendant un escalier n° 2 (1912) was rejected from the Salon des Indepéndants (Paris, 1912) and then exhibited at the Armory show (New York, 1913), where it was at the centre of attention as the most controversial work. Duchamp was aware that having a work rejected could have its benefits already from the rejection of Braque’s paintings from the cubist salon, which were immediately exhibited in other galleries as controversial and avant-garde.
naming it. With this he created a new concept for the object or, to put it differently, whatever he had done, his action took place in the conceptual field. The support of the blind person represents an important part of Duchamp’s action of creating the readymade Fountain: a blind person cannot see the readymade, therefore he must understand it in its essence, contrary to the people who rejected the Fountain and turned a blind eye to it, because they could not find an aesthetic pleasure in the artwork. Duchamp’s readymade attracts the blind gaze, for if it is established on the conceptual level, the material reality of the object is merely a path to the conceptual level. It is likely that many who have seen the Fountain and were unwilling to accept it as a work of art, were frightened by it. At that moment the material reality of the Fountain was at its peak, at its most tactile. It was pure and without a referential field onto which it could attach itself and carry interpretations that would cause a feeling of discomfort. The blind gaze causes a feeling of discomfort within the mimetic loop, for one needs to orient oneself between the two levels of reality of the same object of the same concept. Formally this discomfort is tactile as well as substantial. Because the concept of the work has been established, which has been clearly indicated by the discomfort, the material reality is unnecessary for the image to establish itself in the conceptual field. The concept needs to be mythicised to remain: merely a trace needs to remain from the object – when it is recognised in the conceptual field. Duchamp’s Fountain was never exhibited with the exception of a very short period in Gallery 291 and in the context of mythicisation, with which it obtained a position of a rejected work and with this the right to exist as a work of art. Duchamp was not responsible for the fact that the 107
Opus Corpus indeterminata by artist Zoran Srdić Janežič