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Marsha Meskimmon

(b Blainville, 1889; d Neuilly, 1963).

French sculptor, collagist and draughtsman. Sister of (Henri-Robert-)Marcel Duchamp. Suzanne Duchamp’s work was significant to the development of Paris Dada and modernism and her drawings and collages explore fascinating gender dynamics. She worked closely with her husband, the artist Jean Crotti and her brother, which has exacerbated the tendency to subsume her particular production under their influence.

Beginning her art studies in 1905 at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Rouen, by the outset of World War I Duchamp had moved to Paris. Between 1916 and 1921 she produced a significant body of work in a formal language that has come to be called ‘mechanomorphic’—images taken from commonplace mechanical or technological objects (such as cogs, pulleys, lightbulbs, car parts, etc) arranged to describe or infer human agency, desire or behaviour. The work of Francis Picabia, with whom Duchamp and Crotti were closely allied even after his ‘rejection’ of Dada in the 1920s, typifies the mechanomorphic tendency. Duchamp’s own mechanomorphic works, such as ...

Article

Anne Kirker

(b Grafton, NSW, Nov 14, 1953).

Australian photographer and installation artist. Hall began her career as a photographer in the mid-1970s, relinquishing a formal training in painting. She produced black-and-white modernist images of people embedded in their surroundings, favouring the incidental and over-looked. However by 1978, when she had lived for a time in London, Hall shifted away from the documentary tradition. Impressed by the Dada and Surrealism Reviewed exhibition at the Hayward Gallery that year, she started to create small yet dense tableaux from discarded objects. During 1978–82 she was a student at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY and, on returning to Australia, wholeheartedly adopted strategies of appropriation and intricate fabrication for her photographs. One of the first Australian artists qualified to teach photo-studies, Hall taught at the South Australian School of Art, Adelaide, from 1983.

Hall’s camera images became increasingly idiosyncratic, playful and interpretatively complex. Instead of seeing meaning in the world around her, she decisively devised projects that explored major philosophical themes. In ...

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Budapest, April 15, 1936).

Hungarian painter, conceptual artist and teacher. By 1956 he was familiar with most modernist tendencies. In 1960 he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, having already taken part in exhibitions as an undergraduate. Lakner’s unique Hungarian mixture of Surrealism and naturalism was primarily influenced by the Hungarian painter Tibor Csernus (b 1927). Lakner’s first works were precisely executed naturalistic life studies and still-lifes, imbued with a magical quality (e.g. Scraps of Metal, 1960; Budapest, priv. col.). In other works repetition and density are used to create special effects. From 1962 the influence of Pop art is apparent in his works representing everyday objects, which lacked emotional or personal meaning (e.g. Microscopes, 1960; Budapest, N.G.). Dark tones and metallic shadows characterize his use of colour. Robert Rauschenberg’s art was influential after Lakner saw it at the Venice Biennale of 1964. He was also influenced by montage, in particular John Heartfield’s Dada and Neo-Dada works. He drew upon his knowledge of art history for such montages as ...

Article

Paula J. Birnbaum

(b Brooklyn, NY, April 30, 1943).

American conceptual artist. Reichek earned a BFA from Yale University and a BA from Brooklyn College, where she studied painting with Ad Reinhardt. Well versed in the traditions of modernist painting, Reichek began critiquing those traditions in the 1970s by making art using the vehicles of embroidery, knitting, and weaving. She then engaged in a range of large-scale installation projects that retool domestic media and formats to analyse the patriarchal and modernist assumptions of American culture. In her series of samplers, including Sampler (Kruger/Holzer) (1998; priv. col.), Reichek placed post-modern media-related art within a long history of alphabetic Samplers, a decorative form of needlework long practised by American and European women to demonstrate skill as well as exercise instructional aphorisms. Reichek’s samplers also strategically reference the rectilinear grid as structuring principle in abstract painting, revealing the artist’s interest in recurring patterns of representation of both image and text....

Article

Karel Srp

(b Prague, Dec 13, 1900; d Prague, Oct 1, 1951).

Bohemian critic, theorist, collagist and typographer. He was one of the founders of Devětsil (1920–31) and was the spokesman and theorist of the Czechoslovak Surrealist group (1934–51), inviting André Breton and Paul Eluard to Prague in 1935. His early works were influenced by Cubism. During the 1920s and 1930s he was an enthusiastic typographer, while in the 1940s he devoted himself primarily to making Surrealist collages, concentrating in particular on the female nude. As a theorist he was active from 1920, becoming the spokesman of his generation and its main interpreter, editing the journals Disk (1923, 1925) and ReD (Revue Devětsilu; 1927–31). At first interested in utopian prototypes, he developed an interest in Constructivism after a visit to Paris in 1923. In the late 1920s he became an internationally acknowledged theorist of modern architecture. He delivered a cycle of lectures at the Bauhaus on the sociology of architecture (...