Origins of Contemporary Art

Table of Contents

Marcel Duchamp is referred to as the “father of contemporary art” because he returned art to an act of intentional naming, according to Thierry de Duve. In short, contemporary art is a game of language. However, was the art idealized by Duchamp, who loved chess, really a game of language? Is it not, in fact, something similar to computer games today?
In this essay, Kurose analyzes Duchamp’s oeuvre, from his early works to his posthumous works. His analysis clarifies that Duchamp’s act of creation was not an act of intentional naming as a type of language game; it was rather something similar to a chess game. Duchamp attempted to visualize in his art a “potentially occurring movement” born in the minds of chess players. However, what has made this visualization possible is not Duchamp’s works, but computer games today. In short, Duchamp really became the “father of contemporary art” by understanding art as a computer game.
To prove this hypothesis, Kurose points out a genealogy of “dual-layered vision” that continued from 19th-century optical devices to computer games. In addition, Kurose analyzes several recent high-quality computer games as examples of works that produce a post-Duchamp “two-dimensional vision.”