Vivre et laisser mourir ou la fin tragique de Marcel Duchamp (Live and Let Die or the Tragic End of Marcel Duchamp)

Eduardo Arroyo

Madrid, Spain, 1937 - 2018

Gilles Aillaud

Paris, France, 1928 - 2005

Antonio Recalcati

Bresso, Italy, 1938
Recent acquisition
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  • Technique: 
    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    Polyptych: 163 x 992 cm (Polyptych composed of eight pieces: 162 x 114 cm and 163 x 130 cm each one)
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Eduardo Arroyo went into exile in Paris in 1958 and there he became one of the most important members of the European Figuration narrative movement. His paintings explored and critiqued the political situation in Spain during the later years of the dictatorship, and also the role of the artist and the meaning of the avant-garde languages, which by then had become conventions. The picture he painted with Gilles Aillaud and Antonio Recalcati in 1965, entitled Vivre et laisser mourir ou la fin tragique de Marcel Ducham (Live and Let Die or the Tragic End of Marcel Duchamp), is considered a true manifesto and declaration of the pictorial intentions of its authors. The painting defends collective authorship, as opposed to the individualism of abstraction, the dominant trend during that period. With it, the artists also reveal their intention to embody a figurative alternative that enabled them to express their rejection of the paradigms of the historic avant-garde, as languages that were by that point canonical. This prompts them to depict the death of Marcel Duchamp, whose burial services are being performed by artists involved in the new trends, such as: Rauschenberg, Oldenburg, Martial Raysse, Warhol, Restany and Arman. This “assassination” of Marcel Duchamp, considered at the time to be the father of the modern avant-garde, produced a real scandal in French intellectual life, so much so that the surrealist group signed a statement against the three authors of the painting. This work represents a turning point in this current, whose approach to the new conditions of image representation is informed by the contemporary visual universe, which encompasses theatre, poetry, photography and cinema.