Kunstmuseum Bern

Bethan Huws

24 Oct 2014 - 01 Feb 2015

Aufnahme aus dem Atelier von Bethan Huws in Berlin mit den Research Notes zu Marcel Duchamp
© 2014, ProLitteris, Zürich © Foto: Franziska Rieder
Reading Duchamp, Research Notes 2007-2014
Artistic research
24 October 2014 – 1 February 2015

The project exhibition is devoted to the artistic research carried out by Bethan Huws since 1999 on Marcel Duchamp and that she, since 2007, incorporates in her own artworks and sketches.

The Welsh artist is interested in Duchamp as the intellectual father of conceptual art. She too is fascinated by puns, ideograms and symbols. Duchamp’s oeuvre, his readymades and installation with richly evocative titles, still full of unsolved riddles today, enticed Bethan Huws into speculating on the meanings of and encoding the obscure references. Through her many years of intensive investigation of Duchamp she developed her own profound referential framework and a highly original interpretation of the older artist’s ideas. With texts, photographs and notes on the artworks she has created a research laboratory, a kind of artistic mind map, opening a window onto understanding her threads of thought.

Writing makes up the core of Bethan Huws’s artistic practice. Born in north Wales in 1961, the artist says that the process of writing always helps her find clarity of thought. Her reflections flow forth in language experiments, taking the shapes of drawings, sculptures, photographs, films or performances and are always part of a specific context. The act of reading thus also transports us into associative contexts in which the reader can trace signs of our Western culture by means of puns packed full with subtle irony and in the shape of ambiguous codes. That is, eye to eye with Duchamp. What she produces is a quiet art full of poetry and exquisite humor in stark contrast to the great spectacles that now predominate among exhibitions; it is a reflection on contemporary art historiography and the artistic claim to sovereignty of interpretation.

Bethan Huws was born in 1961 in Bangor, Wales. She studied at Middlesex Polytechnic (1981–85) and at the Royal College of Art (1986–88) in London. She lives and works in Paris and Berlin. Especially her “Word Vitrines” made her famous as well as her readymades, objects and videos. Since 1999, the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Kunsthalle Bern Foundation collect the work of the Welsh conceptual artist.

An artist’s book with all her research notes will be published for the exhibition:

Edited by Dieter Association, Paris.
Essay by Hans Rudolf Reust (English / German / French).
Graphic design by Myriam Barchechat, Paris.
684 pages, 523 images.
Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln 2014.
ISBN 978-3-86335-647-7.
This publication is supported by Berliner Künstlerprogramm/DAAD, Kunstmuseum Bern and Maria & Henry Wegmann-Müller, Winterthur.

Tags: Marcel Duchamp, Bethan Huws