The Museum of Modern Art of Ascona (Switzerland)

The Museum of Modern Art of Ascona (Switzerland)






The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Staatliches Museum Schwerin / Ludwigslust / Güstrow (Germany) and is part of the Swiss celebrations «dada100zürich2016» for the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Dada movement, founded in Zurich in 1916.

The exhibition presents some of Marcel Duchamp’s more important and emblematic works, side by side with those of the major actors of Fluxus.

In 2016 Switzerland celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Dada movement, founded in the legendary Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. In 1916, as a response to the events of World War One, the Dadaists attacked the false values of the bourgeois progress, the certainties and the established system, breaking every rational structure. Also in the artistic field, they act as to demolish all the conventional rules, undermining all hierarchical rules and the barriers that until then existed between literature, theatre, music and fine arts.

To celebrate the Centenary, the Museum of Modern Art of Ascona (Switzerland) presents, from March 25th to June 26th 2016, the exhibition Marcel Duchamp. Dada and Neo-Dada, organized in collaboration with the Staatliches Museum Schwerin / Ludwigslust / Güstrow, which has loaned a selection of works from its prestigious collection.

The show presents a few very important and emblematic works by Marcel Duchamp, an artist that had a big influence on the vanguards that developed between the two World Wars, becoming the “new Michelangelo of modern art”, pioneer and inspirer of most of the movements that have lived on until today: from Pop Art to Conceptual Art, from Fluxus to Net Art and Mail Art.

The exhibition is centered around the famous alteration of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, L.H.O.O.Q. (1919/1965), on which Duchamp drew a beard and a moustache – one of his funniest and more desecrating ready-mades – transforming her in a dadaist portrait. Next to it are displayed other important works, from Nude Descending a Staircase (1912/1937) to the The Box in a Valise (1941), from one of the first ready-mades like the Comb (1916/1964), to later ones like Couple of Laundress’s Aprons (1959).

The exhibition then continues with the works of the Fluxus artists, a neo-dadaist movement (or better yet, a flow, an open group of people that radicalizes directly or indirectly the premises of the historic Dadaists), starting in 1962 but already active at the end of the 1950s, also thanks to Duchamp’s mediation. The exhibition reunites 11 followers of the group, from its promoter George Maciunas, represented with his silk-screen print Stomac Anatomy Apron, to Nam June Paik, Ben Patterson, Dick Higgins, Philip Corner, Daniel Spoerri, Ben Vautier, and others.

As already outlined for Duchamp, sense of humor and games become also for the representatives of Fluxus an essential strategy to attack visual and mental schemes that are established by culture and commonplaces: their works cross over to various artistic endeavors, in a general fusion of eclectic styles. These characteristics are evident in Al Hansen’s art (a pioneer of Performance and Happening Art), in his well-known series of collages inspired by the figure of Venus, as for example the Venus of 1992, composed by matches, or the Zoo Venus of 1995, fashioned by an assemblage of little plastic animals. The Fluxus Altar by Geoffrey Hendricks associates his apparently romantic watercolors representing the sky with furniture and objects installed in the adjacent space. Also Duchamp’s famous Boxes are reinvented in new creations, as in the collective work Fluxus Virus (1992), in the box Self-portrait (1968) by Emmett Williams and in the series Optimistic Box by Robert Filliou, which shows how much Duchamp’s way of thinking and working are still present and alive.

In addition to the exhibition, on Saturday and Sunday, 9th and 10th of May, at the Mount Verità in Ascona, Ben Vautier, one of the protagonists of Fluxus, will hold a performative event, during which he will confront himself with the public on a particularly dear subject for the artist: the truth.

On this occasion Ben Vautier will present 10 works created especially for this event and exhibited in the Casa dei Russi.

This initiative, curated by the Museum of Ascona, is organized in collaboration with Mount Verità Foundation, that will pesent the exhibition until the 10th of May, 2016.


Ascona (Switzerland), Museo Comunale d’Arte Moderna (via Borgo 34)

March 25th - June 26th, 2016

Opening: Thursday March 24th, 6 p.m.


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Press release and images: and (Press Area)