Francis Picabia, 'Conversation I' 1922

Francis Picabia
Conversation I 1922
Watercolour and pencil on paper
support: 595 x 724 mm frame: 648 x 772 x 30 mm
Purchased 1959© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2002

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All three artists were interested in film as a new medium for exploring their interests and disrupting public expectations of rational narratives.

In the 1920s Duchamp ostensibly gave up making art works to play competitive chess. But he was fascinated by the idea of creating virtual forms. Helped at times by Man Ray, he experimented with stereoscopic views and built a number of devices that generated the illusion of seeing a drawing or design in three dimensions.

Picabia was equally interested in optical machines and the challenge of suggesting depth in flat images. Echoing Duchamp’s obsession with circular motion, he used concentric ring patterns to create multiple references to vision (targets and stars) and sensuality (eyes, breasts and orifices).