David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

01 July 2013

Early readymades traced to Australia

It is now thought that Marcel Duchamp's two most famous readymades, the originals of which went missing shortly after they were made, found their way to Australia.

The first of these is Bicycle Wheel.
Bicycle Wheel is a readymade by Marcel Duchamp consisting of a bicycle fork with front wheel mounted upside-down on a wooden stool.
In 1913 at his Paris studio he mounted the bicycle wheel upside down onto a stool, spinning it occasionally just to watch it. Later he denied that its creation was purposeful, though it has come to be known as the first of his readymades. "I enjoyed looking at it," he said. "Just as I enjoy looking at the flames dancing in the fireplace." It was not until he began making readymades a few years later in New York that he decided Bicycle Wheel was a readymade.
The original from 1913 was lost, and Duchamp recreated the sculpture in 1951. Bicycle Wheel is said to be the first kinetic sculpture.

- wikipedia

The second is Fountain.
Fountain is a 1917 work widely attributed to Marcel Duchamp. The scandalous work was a porcelain urinal, which was signed "R.Mutt" and titled Fountain. Submitted for the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917, Fountain was rejected by the committee, even though the rules stated that all works would be accepted from artists who paid the fee. Fountain was displayed and photographed at Alfred Stieglitz's studio, and the photo published in The Blind Man, but the original has been lost. The work is regarded by some art historians and theorists of the avant-garde, such as Peter B├╝rger, as a major landmark in 20th century art. Replicas commissioned by Duchamp in the 1960s are now on display in a number of different museums.
Shortly after its initial exhibition, Fountain was lost. According to Duchamp biographer Calvin Tomkins, the best guess is that it was thrown out as rubbish by Stieglitz, a common fate of Duchamp's early readymades.

- wikipedia

Following a lead...

 The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) Friday 6 March 1925 p 6 Article
... QUARTER SESSIONS. No. 1 Court.-Thomas Bath (part-heard). No. 2 Court.-Henry Davis, breaking, entering, and stealing; Raymond Alfred Summerhayes and Spencer Cornford, steal a motor cycle
...researchers from FIAPCE identified, in the archives of the Sydney Central Police, a 1924 photograph of the cycle thief Spencer Cornford behind whom the Bicycle Wheel (1913) and the Fountain (1917) can both be clearly seen.
Cornford served as a mechanic with the AIF in France during the Great War. Demobbed in Paris in 1918, he sailed from there to New York, serving his passage as a member of the crew. Having somehow 'souvenired' the famous artist's chair wheel in Paris, he then chanced upon the scandal of the second object when in New York. 

Spencer Cornford traced the urinal to the studio of the photographer Stieglitz and from there added it to his wartime travel collection - something queer to show his mates back home : "Over there, they call this art."

The whereabouts of these two objects is now, again, unknown.

 click image to enlarge
 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something ...