Being Duchamp Becoming Elsa

Secrets, lies, figurative and real murder

Being Duchamp, 2021. Performance to camera.

Being Duchamp Becoming Elsa, 2021. Silent movie, accompanied by sound available at the time of viewing. 10:00 (Looping)

A story about an artwork that changed how we view art and what we think about the world, and how, in the absence of any evidence to contradict the myth, Duchamp, seminal 20th century artist, claims it as his own. What would it mean if the most important artwork of 20th century had been made by a woman?

A many-faceted project of speculative fiction, involving moving image performance, 3D printed objects and a publication about Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven and her readymade sculpture Fountain.

A Readymade Photostory

A Readymade Photostory, 2021. Riso print on 100% recycled paper, 29.7 x 21 cm. Research compiled with images. Edition of 400.

Artist, poet and magical thinker. Art history and the world would be very different if Elsa vF was acknowledged as the originator of the now famous urinal. The cross-dressing, gender-bending narrative, encounters the man who lived down the hall, Duchamp and Elsa’s run-ins with the old boys’ club. Secrets, lies, figurative and real murder. Examining the clues, what was Elsa trying to tell us?

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Photo © Debbie Sears. (Detail) Flexible Tenderness Web, 2021. 3D printed objects: death mask, sail-makers needle and originating filament. Dimensions variable.
Photo © Debbie Sears. (Detail) Flexible Tenderness Web, 2021. 3D printed objects: death mask, sail-makers needle and originating filament. Dimensions variable.
Photo © Debbie Sears: That the living may know the features of your face, 2021.

Live performance by acclaimed Palestinian singer Emmal Baker, sings أحمد العربي (Ahmad Al-Arabi), an Arabic song about occupation, love and longing, and those who endure. Parallels are drawn. Much of the modern world is touched by Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven’s thinking, yet no one knows her name. Claiming her territory for her.

To be titled (The Old Boys Club), 2021. Performance in a wearable painting. Sewn canvas and acrylic paint, based on eighteenth century Masonic symbolism 05:00 (Looping).

To be continued.

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