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This spring the Barbican embraces chance, provocation and humour in an international season celebrating Marcel Duchamp, widely considered the father of conceptual art and the most influential artist of the 20th century. We invite you to explore work by his precursors, collaborators and the generations of artists he has influenced across art, music, dance, theatre and film.

Duchamp’s work, including Bicycle Wheel from 1913 and an autographed inverted urinal entitled Fountain 1917, radically altered what we think of as art by blurring the distinction between art and life, using chance procedures, embracing humour and provoking the tastemakers.

dancing around duchamp | Barbican
Barbican center, London, 2013

At the heart of the season is the major exhibition The Bride and the Bachelors: Duchamp with Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Johns, featuring a rich array of painting, sculpture, stage sets and musical notations, orchestrated by leading contemporary artist Philippe Parreno.

An exciting programme of live Cage music and Cunningham dance performances in the gallery by graduates and students of London Contemporary Dance School and dancers from Richard Alston Dance Company is integral to the exhibition.

For one night only, Rambert Dance Company offers another opportunity to see Cunningham repertoire with a performance of RainForest in the gallery.

In the Curve, Vancouver-based artist Geoffrey Farmer draws upon assemblage and chance practices with the UK premiere of The Surgeon and the Photographer.

In the theatre, journey into the surreal and absurd with Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi from Cheek by Jowl, Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinocéros, a virtuoso performance by Barry McGovern in an adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s Watt and Robert Wilson’s inspired homage to John Cage in Lecture on Nothing.

And in our cinemas, we offer a playful and subversive film programme that considers the legacy of Duchamp and Dada. Featuring work from Hans Richter, Man Ray, John Cage and Jean-Luc Godard, plus silent comedy and movies from the American underground.

To pull all of these threads together we are hosting a scholarly discussion on the legacy of Duchamp called The Bride Stripped Bare, as well as one glorious night of anarchic celebration in Cabaret Duchamp.




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