Duchamp* as an Anamorphosis of Josyane Vanounou
Rivka Bakalash, Curator
In the context of the age of mechanical reproduction and postmodernism, Vanounou installs a multidisciplinary (literature, cinema, art history) and multimediumal exhibition comprised of drawings, acrylic paintings, texts, animations, videos, and rectified assisted readymad es.
Undergoing a complex creative process, photographic images of Marcel Duchamp are metamorphosed into raw-charcoal drawings that preserve the touch of the artist’s hand. These drawings are then photographed, and together make up an archaic animation film, which animates and immortalizes Duchamp’s portrait.
At first glance, this unusual collection of images seems illegible, undecipherable, and is therefore perceived as nonsense informed by a humorous, deceptive atmosphere.
the exhibition offers several interpretations of the notion of nonsense: a nonsensical comedy; loss of direction (as in the French meaning of the word: what is the route of movement through the exhibition? Which pieces are to precedes which?); or addressing not one’s senses (non-sense = not for the senses).
The artistic language of the exhibition transpires between oppositions. On the one hand, perfectionism, extroversion and splendor, and on the other hand the flawed and slapdash. Contrary to the readymades, which are covered in shiny gold, the drawings are mounted on panels in a blatantly careless, nonchalant manner. These drawings are in counterpoint to the painstaking meticulousness of the acrylic paintings, which present a clear contradiction between the mechanically drawn, stenciled letters and their support, which seems to be whitewashed. These paintings, in turn, are in opposition to the black, hand-drawn charcoal drawings.
Deceptive duality is a fundamental underlying principle of this exhibition.
At an age of crisis with regard to the physical attributes of the image in painting and representational media, Vanounou holds on to the photographic image and reproduces it obsessively. The process by which the images are converted from photography to drawing, from one artistic field to another, seems to be in accord with Duchamp’s statement that painting draws on photography since “photography gives us something very accurate from a drawing point of view.”