Our Gallery 4 programme of exhibitions presents sculptures of historical importance that offer counterpoints to our exhibitions in Galleries 1, 2 and 3 underlining the ever-developing history and uniqueness of sculpture. The third in this new series of exhibitions features a single work by Sturtevant made between 1969 and 1973: 'Duchamp Bicycle Wheel'.
Since 1964 American-born, Paris-based artist Sturtevant (b.1930) has repeated works by her contemporaries, from Andy Warhol to Claes Oldenburg and Joseph Beuys. Made from memory and with the same methods as the original, Sturtevant's repetitions are eerily similar, if not almost identical. Through this subversive approach, Sturtevant divorces an artwork from its visual image to investigate its conceptual meaning and value.
At the heart of her work is the question: to ask: what makes a particular artwork from the past relevant in the present? Sturtevant herself succinctly described in a lecture titled 'Shifting Mental Structures' delivered at Frankfurt Museum für Moderne Kunst in 2004: "The brutal truth of the work is that it is not copy. The push and shove of the work is the leap from image to concept. The dynamics of the work is that it throws out representation. It is this leap that severs a work from its original time and place of making."
Sturtevant: 'Duchamp Bicycle Wheel' (1969-73) shows concurrently with the exhibitions in Galleries 1, 2 and 3: Sarah Lucas: Ordinary Things, showing until 21 October, and 1913: The Shape of Time from 22 November. In both cases, it highlights the ways in which sculpture deploys strategies of replication and readymades. 'Duchamp Bicycle Wheel' asks how the power of Duchamp's first readymade 'Bicycle Wheel' has endured since it was made in 1913, the very same year that all the works in 1913: The Shape of Time were first executed.
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