Marcel Duchamp Artworks

In our environmentally concerned world it is perhaps not surprising to find art works made of ‘junk’, ‘scrap’ or ‘re-used’ products. And as recycling has, quite rightly, become a normal part of life rather than a weird niche activity, artists too have embraced pre-owned objects.

But art and scrap have a long history. So here’s a couple of recycled classics and a few new additions, which we think warrant a place on the all time list of the greatest upcycled artworks ever.

Marcel Duchamp

Back in 1913, Marcel Duchamp changed the art world forever. He began working on the idea of ‘Readymades’ – objects selected from the world rather than actually made by an artist. Having it’s antecedents in Dada and the notion of ‘anti-art’ Duchamp’s work was often tinged with humour, such as the snow shovel entitled ‘In Advance of the Broken Arm’ (1915).
His work, ‘Fountain’ (1917) is perhaps the most famous ‘Readymade’: a normal, everyday urinal, signed ‘R.Mutt’ and turned upside down.

Pablo Picasso

Turning junk into art and out-Duchamping-Duchamp in one fail swoop. Picasso’s ‘Bull’s Head’ (1942) is a masterfully simple juxtaposition. Its brilliance lies partially in the fact that it is instantaneously and simultaneously recognisable as both bike saddle and handlebars and as a bull’s head.

Picasso’s residency in Paris throughout World War II was of great moral and symbolic significance. And this work should not only be seen as art world one-upmanship but as brave (and also humorous) defiance of the Occupation.


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