Music for Marcel Duchamp

John Cage and Fluxus

Marcel Duchamp is a seminal figure in twentieth century art and his theories are of far reaching influence in many fields. He questioned the idea about what constitutes a work of art, used "ready-mades" and included the process of creation in the work itself, thus seeding the soil out of which Fluxus and Happenings were to grow.

Duchamp's friend and chess partner John Cage included ready made sounds, as from a radio or record player, in his early music and included everyday sounds in his indeterminate music. Cage and Duchamp were the spiritual fathers of Fluxus. They were all concerned with the linking of life and art, the breaking of traditional boundaries and the questioning of art itself.

Everyday actions and activities, partly provocative, partly banal, sometimes slapstick, often fleeting are declared to be art. The bourgeois consumer is compelled to think about art and life. The reverse of this understanding is that life becomes transformed into art. A daily action such as opening a window or preparing a salad becomes an artistic performance.

Bernd Thewes uses in his "Paraphrases" many household articles and musical ready mades.


Bernd Thewes: Paraphrasen zu den 7 Sieben des Salzhändlers (for Marcel Duchamp), 1992

John Cage: Music for Marcel Duchamp, 1947, for prepared piano

John Cage: Four6, 1992

Hans-Joachim Hespos: psi, 2010, musical scene  for trombone and mobile ascolta-ensemble

Fluxus actions by George Brecht, Ken Friedman, Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles, Takehisa Kosugi, George Maciunas, Yoko Ono, Chieko Shiomi, Robert Watts, Emmett Williams, Lamonte Young