“It is a time for fragments”, remarked the artist Marcel Duchamp to the author Anaïs Nin, while she was visiting him in his studio in 1934. He was referring specifically to the documentation of his work The Large Glass, for which he collected scraps of writing and graphic material in a green box.
In a world whose unity and totality was being placed in doubt both by physics and by societal upheavals, the fragment appeared to be the only viable form of artistic action. While in the Renaissance or Romanticism the fragment was conceived of as a vestige of a former whole or of something that was yet to be completed, since the 20th century it has stood as a symbol for a world that is always unfinished.
Through paintings, sculptures, photographs and video installations by artists such as Joseph Beuys, Anish Kapoor, William Kentridge, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol, the presentation Time for Fragments looks into the meaning of this tendency.