Advertising Theory: "Branding" and Duchamp’s Productions

Artamendi, Felix Guerenabarrena , 2005/12/01, 2015/08/21

I have always been fascinated by Duchamp´s creative production. As I am working as Business Consultant I have developed some ideas concerning Duchamp´s production and my Branding theories. If someone was interested in this material I would love to be in touch with her/him. My thought from Tom Peter’s Brand Cafe….

Marcel Duchamp and Branding

When we are talking about products/services, one cool leap is to examine the production of Marcel Duchamp. I’m going to focus in four milestones of his artistic legacy to examine his works and ideas in the context of branding.

1.- The Nude: This piece represented his contribution to an innovative art stream, futurism. It´s an example of vanguardism, something that stands on the frontline of innovation. He wanted to express an IDEA. The Movement itself becomes the point, instead of painting a ‘thing.’ Duchamp used futurism to help him jump from retinal art to an idea-based art.

2.- The readymades: With these works Duchamp showed his boredom of vanguard”isms”. The many “isms” of the beginning of the XXth Century quickly went from revolutionary to standard. They lost their attracting power and art pieces became pure retina satisfaction objects. Duchamp claims here for the author´s signature. If art = a thing, then anything can be art. Logically, resulting from this is that the author´s signature/Brand is what makes the art. Moreover, the author´s signature does not have to be included in the production: you can subcontract all the productive process. However, if you sign it, your Brand´s expression remains. Following Raymond Roussel’s ideas, he also thought of a Painting Machine to do the painting act and reserved himself to sign the work or make little changes (draw moustaches to the Monalisa) in his “branding” process.

3.- The Bride is an Idea beyond it´s objectual reality. You can find different dimensions when trying to understand The Bride. The physical/mechanical: The object itself = The thing. (It´s a glass with different non figurative drawings.) It symbolizes a bride stripped bare by her bachelors, even…. He says the title is essential part of the piece. He goes beyond the thing, into the Idea that includes a story and the assembly.

A. The Story as it´s told in his Green and White Boxes tells one of the most incredible stories I have ever read. The Bride is moved by a physical strength called “Love gas”… Duchamp creates the first virtual reality in art history. Tom, here, at the Cafe, likes saying a web place is pure design. I like saying it´s pure dream, fantasy. You can conconct a world that just exists on the web and enrich your brand. Duchamp recognized he was telling a marvellous story and that his art went beyond the color tubes, and had more to do with poetry.

B. The Assembly parts are from the same elements of the Bride but stress one point. “The watcher makes up the art work”. In the Bride Duchamp gave the clues to transfer the story onto Glass. In the assembly it´s the watcher´s eye who creates art, tells the story. She/He is part of the story, star of the drama. Duchamp’s “branding” is an advertising’s first principle—”Make your customers heros of your story.”


Felix Gerenabarrena