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Duchamp’s influence still powerful

Feb. 20, 2012 - 18:14 By Korea Herald
Opera Gallery Seoul offers artworks by contemporary artists influenced by Marcel Duchamp

Had it not been for Marcel Duchamp, the “anti-artist” who stirred up the 20th century art world with an upside-down urinal, the contemporary art scene would never have become what it is.

Opera Gallery Seoul in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, gathered artwork by 19 acclaimed artists after Duchamp’s time who were obviously influenced by the sensational French artist in more than one way. The exhibition, titled “Rehab: Tribute to Marcel Duchamp,” opens on Thursday.

“We named the exhibition ‘Rehab,’ to show that the artists featured were rehabilitated and retrained after seeing Duchamp’s groundbreaking showcase of the ‘Fountain,’” said show curator Lee Ha-rin.
“Easy Rider” by Paik Nam-june (Opera Gallery Seoul)

About 40 paintings, sculptures and installations created by contemporary stars and up-and-coming artists will be on display. Participating artists include late French artist Arman known for his musical instrument-inspired works; Bulgarian artist Christo famous for his “wrapping” creations; late South Korean media artist Paik Nam-june who led the Fluxus movement; representative Young British Artists Marc Quinn and Damien Hirst; British artist Marcelline Lapouffe and emerging Chinese artist Kang Yongfeng.

The artworks show how Duchamp’s genre-shattering creations influenced the future generations of artists and had them explore even more unexpected genres such as surrealism, post-modernism, conceptual art, the Fluxus movement and pop art.

It is especially notable that among the participating artists, three are Koreans. The Paris-based gallery, which rarely showcased works by Korean artists in previous exhibitions, decided to showcase more of such works along with international artists’ works from now on, said Lee.

Not to mention Paik’s use of television sets, other Korean artists all have their unique style as well ― Hong Sang-sik uses plastic straws as the main material and Kim Chang-young sand ― so their work fits well to the theme of the show.

The exhibition runs from Feb. 23 to March 18 at Opera Gallery Seoul in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul. For more information, call (02) 3446-0070 or visit

By Park Min-young  (