“The title of a painting is another color on the artist’s palette,” said Marcel Duchamp in an interview a couple of months before his death in 1968. 1 He consistently gave titles an important role, treating each “like an invisible color,” a pigment that bypassed the eyes to appeal to the mind. 2 For some artists, titling is an essential part of their art, a crucial component that adds another dimension to the piece. Others, however, believe that titles interfere with the viewer’s experience and would rather have the work speak for itself without the mediation provided by language. Either way, the only thing that is certain is that every artist must decide on how and what to name their work. The present selection of pieces from la Colección Jumex takes a look at this key issue in contemporary art: what role does a title play in a work of art? What relation exists between word and image in artistic practices?
Choice as a form of artistic labor–crucial for Duchamp’s readymades–is also embedded in the act of titling. Faced with infinite options, selecting one name means discarding all others. Naming allows one to see, to make sense of visual experience and create a sense of order and control over the world around us. This trade of words and images has been one of the main engines of art’s development in the past decades.