Van Gogh and Duchamp are two names, two monuments of 20th-century art history, whose symbolic charge is such that it opens the door to polarisation for those who allow themselves to become trapped in clichés.
Perceived as an antidote to expressivity, Conceptual art for a long time relegated excessive subjectivity to the inferior status of artistic sub-genre. It is only recently that emotion and immediacy have gained fresh currency within the practice of contemporary artists.
Are the names of Van Gogh and Duchamp synonyms for “hot” and “cold”? One standing for existential agitation, the other for intellectual sovereignty? One for popular (accessible), the other for sophisticated (elitist)? One for “painting”, the other for “anti-painting”? One for pictorial spaces saturated with energy, the other for fetishized objects manipulated with ironic detachment?
The symposium, which being held in French with simultaneous English translation, proposed a programme of short presentations and lively discussions in which a distinguished panel of cultural historians, sociologists and contemporary artists exchange their views on “Van Gogh – Duchamp: oil and water?”.
Speakers: Mark Alizart, Nicolas Bourriaud, Guillaume Bruère, Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, Andrea Büttner, Isabelle Cornaro, Cécile Debray, Nathalie Heinich, Bethan Huws, Jean de Loisy, Bernard Marcadé, Piper Marshall, François Piron, Ralph Rugoff, Francesco Stocchi