Symposium – The Readymade Century 1917 - 2017

With Saâdane Afif, Lars Blunck, Martha Buskirk, Simon Denny, Katja Kwastek, Benjamin Meyer-Krahmer, Olaf Nicolai, and others

Does the term ‘readymade’ taken by Marcel Duchamp around 1916 for his ‘already made’ works of art need updating in the light of the global and digital transformations of the 21st century? Interpretations of the Readymade in art history concentrate on Duchamp himself. However, during the “Readymade Century” artistic practices working with the ‘already made’ have expanded enormously, forming a heterogeneous field of (post-)appropriation strategies.

One hundred years after Duchamp’s (in)famous “Fountain” (1917) the focus of the symposium is the “contemporary readymade.” By integrating perspectives of cultural theory and artistic research, The Readymade Century will examine the concept in terms of the circulation of goods in the age of globalization and on-demand (post-)industrial production. In doing so, it ties into the radical nature of Duchamp’s gesture and relocates it against the backdrop of new aesthetic possibilities in a postindustrial/postdigital present. The symposium will furthermore take on an intercultural perspective, considering the status of ethnological objects that are removed from their everyday utility value and are given exhibition value as unique items.

In five panels moderators and artists open up the dialogue between theoretical reseach and artistic practice:

Readymade after the Readymade – Lars Blunck / Saâdane Afif

Readymade product – Martha Buskirk / Olaf Nicolai

Readymade transcultural – Benjamin Meyer-Krahmer / t.b.a.

Readymade market – Wolfgang Ullrich / Simon Denny

Readymade creativity – Katja Kwastek / t.b.a.


  • Olaf Nicolai, Big Sneaker [The Nineties], 2001 | Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017