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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Artists are great thinkers

Fountain, 1917, Marcel Duchamp.
Fountain, 1917, Marcel Duchamp.

When people are asked about artists, the first thing that comes to their mind is what they do — paint, draw, sing, dance. In my opinion, that's a big no — artists think.

American Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) had no technical skills to be an artist, but had ambitions to become one. He thought for a while, and then reinvented what it is to be an artist altogether! Challenging conventions, he asked: 'Why should art be beautiful? Why should art be made by artists?'

He bought a urinal, declared it art, and became the world's first conceptual artist! His 'ready-made sculptures' influenced major art movements, paved the way for great artists, and revolutionised the culture itself. He was brave. He had an inquisitive mind, played chess and read tonnes of books. He loved other people's ideas, and was not shy to build on them. He believed everyone can be an artist, and showed how it can be done. His 'trick' was to think across concepts, and this approach can be applied to any creative endeavour. Duchamp is a great role model. Albert Einstein said 'imagination is a true intelligence'. I paraphrase: artists are great thinkers.

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