My Biography

David Duchamp
David Duchamp in 2017 at Barcelona
Real Name David de Jong
Birth February 24, 1969
in Sofia (Bulgaria)
Nationality Dutch
Profession Pirate & protester visual artist

Signature

Signature de David Duchamp

David Duchamp, whose real name is David de Jong, is a Dutch visual artist.

His palette covers a wide variety of styles. As each of his creations is so different, it is difficult to identify him with a specific artistic trend.

He is known primarily for his tribute or protest artworks.
He is the inventor of the term and concept : « Ready-Remade ».

Memoirs

David de Jong was born in Sofia (Bulgaria) on February 24, 1969, to a Dutch father, Thomas de Jong and to Marie-Thérèse Martynov, a Belgian of Bulgarian origin.

In the '60s, his father was a commodity trader in Brussels (Belgium), while his mother, a secretary, worked with him.
They married in 1964 and his father, on the advice of his in-laws, decided to cross the Iron Curtain to go to Karlovo in Bulgaria, where he settled, building a business exporting roses from Damascus [1].

David spent the first five years of his life there, until his parents sent him to a primary boarding school in Switzerland, so that he could benefit from the best education possible.

Afterwards, he studied at the Tonelli College in Leytron (Switzerland) until graduation (French baccalaureate level).
It was here that his art teacher would teach him drawing, painting, photography, craft and art history.

Meanwhile, his maternal grandparents settled on the French Riviera in Cannes (France) where he spent each of his summer holidays [2], as well as each Christmas with his parents.
A former teacher, his grandmother was passionate about art and his grandfather was an amateur figurative painter as well. 

His grandparents often took him to exhibitions and openings, where he was exposed to artists who would become famous later : the sculptor César, Arman, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Jean Tinguely, Ben, etc...

In addition, his parents took him to the biggest museums in Europe during their holidays, which allowed him to admire and appreciate ancient art.

At the age of 18, David fell in love and chose to abandon everything, against the advice of his family, to live with his partner in Madrid (Spain).
This sentimental relationship would be brief because of his disgust with this country's barbarian traditions towards animals, which she defended with fervor.

For the next thirty years, he traveled all over Europe, living for a long time in each country, where he practiced different trades (salesman, waiter, handyman, singer, ...)

During this period, he exhibited and sold his artworks under various pseudonyms.
Ultimately however, he felt forced to adopt an artist's name, as he says in his interview :

Marcel Duchamp
Marcel, my permanent nightmare

I believe in the phenomenon of possession and I am living proof of it.
No doubt because as a child I read magazines on the paranormal that my mother subscribed to, which developed my hyper-sensitivity to this kind of thing.

During the year 2005, I lost my mother and my grandmother, and a few months later, while I was in a state of extreme psychological weakness, I felt a spirit come and possess me.

When he first revealed his name to me, I found it difficult to admit : it was Marcel Duchamp !
(...)

In 2016, I lost all my belongings during a move and the hardest part was accepting that all my memories had gone up in smoke !
My mother had carefully preserved some drawings and documents from my youth, and thanks to the Internet I was able to find certain photos, but I still had all my artworks to recreate.

Instead of giving up, I got to work ; overwhelmed as usual by Marcel's advice during this period of creativity.
I then threatened him : « if you keep tormenting me like this, Duchamp will be my signature ! »

To which he replied : « I dare you ! »

Thus I took up the challenge and adopted the surname of the one who confuses my neurons regularly without ever having been invited.

Despite this, one has only to see David Duchamp's creations, and note that all are different, innovative and the fruit of his own ideas and his own talent.

He says that he had to wait patiently for the time to come when people could finally understand his work, and that this change has finally begun.

Tired of the madness of men and their cruelty (particularly with regard to children and animals), he now lives in his ivory tower, where he will devote the rest of his life to producing his artworks, refusing interviews and being present at nearly all of his exhibitions.

Artworks

De Graal
At coffee-shop « De Graal »
Artwork # Zero
« Artwork # Zero »

In 1996, he decided to go and discover his father's country : after a few weeks, he found a job as a handyman at the « De Graal » coffee shop in Amsterdam (Netherlands). [3]

A few months later, the owner asked him to become manager. He accepted and, as he launched new events which met with great success, he took the opportunity to permanently exhibit and sell his psychedelic paintings.

In 2002, he found himself on Piazza Navona in Rome (Italy), where he sold small watercolors of Italian landscapes to tourists, which he signs « David di Roma » produced before their eyes. [4]

In July 2008, he shared a booth with several artists at the « Tomorrowland » festival in Boom (Belgium), where he sold his « Impermanent Heterogeneous Objects » : assemblies of metallic objects varnished with transparent colored paint and placed under a bell, signed « D. de Jong ».

He spent the winter of 2012 in the Canary Islands, where he was hired at the restaurant « El Gran Dali » in Playa del Inglés as a tout and used this job to sell tourists small pencil drawings, made quickly on demand , which he signed in tribute : « El Gran David ».

Then in 2014 he left to explore Eastern Europe, and after a passage in the Balkans, he ended up settling in Bucharest (Romania), where he attempted to create a graphic design company for the web.

In 2015, he returned to Spain and lived in Catalonia, a region he is particularly fond of.
The owner of the Cannabis-Social-Club « La Rambla » in Barcelona asked ​​him to decorate the walls with abstract paintings. He created ten canvases which he sold to customers, signed « D! ».

In the summer of 2016, the moving truck that was transporting his things from Bucharest swerved. Ending up in a ditch, it burst into flames and destroyed all of his artistic endeavors.

It will take him years to recreate these artworks, but this time they will be signed under his final artist's name : « Duchamp ».

He then decided in 2017 to transform what had been a dilettante occupation into a professional career as a contemporary artist; to which he will devote the rest of his life.

Absent from France for thirty years, he returned to the Côte d'Azur in 2018, presenting a major piece, « Artwork # Zero » and two paintings from his collection « I do not agree ! » at « Le César » gallery held by Ben Vautier.

In 2019, he launched his gallery on the web, where he exhibits his productions. 

That same year, in December, he created the artwork « Fugue in G Major » [5] specially for the charity gala organized by the city at the opera of Nice, for the benefit of Lenval Hospital Foundation and the youth of the O.G.C.N [6], which was exhibited and sold by the auctioneer of the auction house « Millon Drouot ».

Note that it was the president of the O.G.C.N himself who bought this painting ! [7]

Next was his performance: « Dictatorship : 3 days of silence » [8], sold to the artist « Ben Vautier » in whose home it is currently exhibited.

Then in 2020, he resumes his long international trips, always in search of a haven of peace ...

Exhibitions

  • 1996 : Psychedelic paintings - coffee shop « De Graal », Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  • 2002 : Italian landscapes (watercolors) - Piazza Navona, Rome (Italy)
  • 2008 : « Impermanent Heterogeneous Objects » - festival « Tomorrowland », Boom (Belgium)
  • 2012 : Pencil drawings - restaurant « El Gran Dali », Playa del Inglés (Canary Islands)
  • 2015 : Abstract paintings - C.S.C « La Rambla », Barcelona (Spain)
  • 2018 : Artworks exhibited at the gallery « Le César », (France)
  • 2019 : « Fugue in G major » - Opera of Nice (France) - permanent exhibition at O.G.C.N
  • 2020 : « Dictatorship : 3 days of silence » - House of Ben Vautier (France) - permanent exhibition

Photo Gallery (click on it !)


( Biography written by Thierry, his childhood friend )

Notes and references

1. Between 1954 and 1989, the autocratic regime of Todor Zhivkov brought about an era of political and social stability, and commercial openness to Western Europe.

2. David would never know his paternal grandparents, who were shot in September 1944, during the « Market Garden » operation, for having hosted English paratroopers.

3. The coffee-shop « De Graal » : www.amsterdam.info/coffeeshops/de-graal

4. In reality, these watercolors were made by his friend Manolo, but since David was a better seller, he had found this trick of signing them in front of the customers.

5. You can see this artwork on my website by clicking here.

6. They support the Endowment Fund : www.ogcnice.com/fr/citoyen/ils-nous-soutiennent

7. Results of the charity gala : www.ogcnice.com/fr/actualite/38722/130-000-pour-les-enfants

8. You can see this artwork on my website by clicking here.