An exhibition devoted to Marcel Duchamp is held in Paris, and it is not in a museum, but in the gallery of Thaddaeus Ropac, himself a collector of the artist. By borrowing his pieces, taking from the collection of another gallery owner, David Fleiss, and from German museums, the art historian Paul B. Franklin brings together the elements of a portrait of the artist under the sign of fetishism.
The notion applies to Duchamp’s relationship with the objects he chooses and cherishes, extracting them from their banality, the Bottle Holders for example. It applies to the cult he pays to certain parts of the female body. the corner of chastity, the female vine leaf and the latex foam breast on velvet titled please touch are therefore there.
But, more than eroticism, Franklin is attached to the narcissistic autofetishism of an artist who dedicates the miniature museum to himself. Box-in-suitcase. Duchamp willingly plays with the repetition of his works in the state of reproductions signed as originals, the Nude descending the stairs Where LHOOQ- the last one which multiplies fetishism, Mona Lisa and da Vinci.
Only one point is not directly addressed: isn’t Duchamp now himself a fetish, and isn’t this exhibition, however subtle, also part of the adoration of relics?
“Please Touch: Marcel Duchamp and the Fetish”. Thaddaeus-Ropac Gallery, 7, rue Debelleyme, Paris 3and. Until February 19. Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.