Marcel Duchamp, Fountain 1917, replica 1964 . Tate . © Succession Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2022

Room 4 in Materials and Objects

Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain  1917, replica 1964

Fountain is Duchamp’s most famous work. It is an example of what he called a ‘ready-made’ sculpture. These were made from ordinary manufactured objects. He then presented them as artworks. This invites us to question what makes an object ‘art’? Is this urinal ‘art’ because it is being presented in a gallery? The original 1917 version of this work has been lost. This is one of a small number of copies that Duchamp allowed to be made in 1964. Do you think it makes a difference that it is not Duchamp’s original urinal?

Gallery label, July 2020

artworks in Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp, 3 stoppages étalon (3 Standard Stoppages)  1913–14, replica 1964

Duchamp regarded chance as a means ‘to combat logical reality’. He made this work by dropping three threads, each a metre long, from a height equal to their length. He then cut wooden rulers to record the shape in which each thread had fallen. Duchamp described these as ‘a preserved metre, preserved chance’: a way of giving material form to a random process based on a simple idea. He said that this work opened the way for him ‘to escape from those traditional methods of expression long associated with art ’.

Gallery label, February 2022

artworks in Marcel Duchamp

Art in this room

T07573: Fountain
Marcel Duchamp Fountain 1917, replica 1964
T07507: 3 stoppages étalon (3 Standard Stoppages)
Marcel Duchamp 3 stoppages étalon (3 Standard Stoppages) 1913–14, replica 1964