1-2-3-DUCHAMP !

a visual analysis of Marcel Duchamp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1924-1968

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1924-1968 :  the boring fate of the genius player

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1923 – In February Marcel returns to Europe. First he stays four months in Brussels to compete in the National Chess Championship of Belgium, he ends third place.

1924 – Marcel Duchamp is dadaist in Paris. Mary Reynolds has also moved to Paris and Marcel now has a serious relationship with her, although he keeps it a secret. He photographs Mary together with Suzanne, Jean Crotti and the Varèse couple. Suzanne and Mary exchange meaningful, happy glances.


Obligation pour la roulette de Monte-Carlo

(1924, Parijs) AS-406
Is this fun money game only an illustration to the title, which is an anagram of an originally erotic message? Of LE TOTON OBLIGE MARCEL AU TORNADE- PROUT maybe? What do the half concealed curly letters tell us? The last part of the text, to the lower right, looks like LHEPT or EL-ACH-EE-PETE: “elle lache un pet”? Or is this – again – an ah aspiré? EL-AH-ASPIRE-EE-PE-TE: “elle a aspiré et pète” or “il a aspiré et pète”? Or did he hide two letters in each other and is there another L in the P? “…et elle pète” ? Or is that last letter an I ? PE+IE= PAIE? “Elle lache et paie” or “il a aspiré et paie”???
It has to be something very funny. A game with farts as currency?
Marcel pictures himself as a jester, or as a devil?
This lithographic edition in 30 copies wants to sell shares at 500 FF.
 



1925 – On the 29th of January mother Duchamp dies. One day after the funeral, on February 2nd, the father dies. Marcel is disappointed in the heritage. His father brought into credit everything Marcel borrowed beforehand.


ECHECS championat de france 1925

(1925, Nice) AS-411
Marcel Duchamp designs the poster for the ‘National Chess Championship of France’. Even then he cannot resist hiding his sexual desires in it, on the sly.
To choose the top of the king pawn as main theme, is no coincidence. It is a glans. But we also have to see the visible form as empty interspace (like in ‘Sacré Coeur’). So: a straddle of two squatting legs, out of which arises a huge cube-y fart. These cubes are so excessively composed, that they force us to play a Duchampean game. And YES: there we have the male profile that blows and/or sucks a vagina.
    



1925 – September 10. Marcel Duchamp is sixth in this National Chess Championship and, because of his 50 % score, he is now officially “Maître de la Fédération Française des Echecs”: a Chess Master!

1926 – At his brother Jacques Villon’s place, Marcel again meets Jeanne Serre.

1926 – Marcel buys (with the inheritance money?) 80 works by Francis Picabia and 29 sculptures by Constantin Brancusi and takes them to New York.


Portrait of Florine Stettheimer

(1926, New York) AS-425
“A completely classical portrait”, is what it’s called. But that hairdo really is strange. Thanks to our Duchamp-spectacles we see the curves of buttocks or thighs in it with a vagina in between and to the left is Marcel’s head, eyes closed, blowing softly…
 


Florine Stettheimer is a painter in her own right. Marcel Duchamp used to give her and her sisters French lessons since 1916. In 1923 she painted a portrait of ‘Marcel Duchamp and Rrose Sélavy’ in which suspicions of Marcel’s pleasures are hidden visually. She seems to hide more eroticism in her work.

1926 – On November 19 the ‘Société Anonyme Inc’ opens a big international exhibition in the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Afterwards the exhibition travels America and Canada. The ‘Grand Verre’ is part of it, but returns broken. Katherine Dreier only notices it in 1931. For two years she fears saying anything to Marcel about it, who will eventually repair it in 1936.

1927 – In March Marcel returns to Paris once again. In June he marries the filthy rich Lydie Sarazin- Levassor. In October he suggests a divorce, Lydie accepts immediately. After that he is Mary Reynold’s regular partner, no secrets anymore.

1928 – Marcel Duchamp is 41 years old. Andy Warhol en Yves Klein are being born. Marcel Broodthaers is four years old and Joseph Beuys turns seven.


Red Knight

(1930, Parijs) AS-427
Marcel’s favorite shape, the triangle with wavy sides, was the one he originally witnessed between his sister’s legs when she peed kneeling or standing. But the hidden scenes in his early drawings and paintings show us a few variations to it.
  
– 1. Suzanne sat on the table, one leg curved in a way that her foot touches the other leg. This formed a triangle with curved sides. In that triangle Suzanne made a pond with urine. (You can trace this sloping triangle with the three “stoppages”-rulers.)
– 2. Marcel was part of this triangle. Suzanne with legs spread on the table edge, her knees pushed against Marcel’s hip, who in his turn pushed his legs against the table edge, his penis on the table. This was a watertight pond that they could fill together. The eventual pond image looks like “Fountain”.
– 3. Suzanne sits at the table corner, legs spread. Marcel has folded a leg on the corner and sits on his heel. The other leg is pushed against the table edge. Suzanne’s legs clasp Marcel so that again a closed pond is formed. All of the pond contours together now form a horse’s head.
(see AS-378, AS- 427, AS-503, AS-513, AS-533, AS-537, etc…)
 


1934 – Marcel Duchamp finishes ‘Boîte Verte’. A box full of reproductions of notes referring to ‘La mariée mise a nu par ses célibataires, même’, writing period 1915-1923. De texts are incomprehensible. An edition of 300 copies and 20 deluxe boxes.

1935 – On May 9th Marcel Duchamp has his Rotoreliëfs registered. 500 sets of 6 discs are produced. Duchamp rents a booth at Le Salon des Inventeurs. He sells 3 of the sets.

1941 – After the ‘Boîte Verte’ Marcel was occupied for 6 years with designing and composing ‘Boîte en valise’, or his own portable museum, with facsimiles of his most important works. Everything reduced to scale, even ‘Fountain’ and ’50cc Air de Paris’. 69 pieces all together. Amongst them more notes referring to ‘La mariée mise a nu par ses célibataires, même’, writing period 1912-1917. ‘Boîte-en-valise’ will be an edition of (at least) 320 copies, 24 of them deluxe boxes. It is produced until 1949.

1942 – World War II, Marcel leaves occupied France. From Cassablanca he flees to New York. In New York he finds a whole bunch of Parisian surrealists. Marcel becomes surrealist. Mary Reynolds stays in Paris to fulfill a more engaged task in the resistance.


Window for ‘Le Surrealisme et la Peinture’ by André Breton

(1945, New York) AS-512
Also in this ”surrealistic window” for a New York book shop, Marcel Duchamp hides his private desires: a kneeled figure who masturbates under a skirt. His profile with his nose at a vagina, and if we should change our view point, we would probably see even more…

 


Etant donnés: 1° la chute d’eau / 2° le gaz d’éclairage

(1946-1966, New York) AS-634
(Analysis part 1)
Marcel Duchamp is almost 60. The older he gets, the more he finds that the truth behind his works can be out in the open. But it still is a too shameful thing to do while alive. He decides to make a posthumous work and starts it immediately. He wants to give the world The Keys to his true genius. “Les étant données”: her urine and her farts, which he always loved so much. This work is not a funny game. This is something serious. Only about him? Le nu Duchamp?
His current lover Maria Martins is his model. Marcel Duchamp will work on this four-dimensional puzzle for another 20 years.


1950 – September 30th, Mary Reynolds dies. Marcel travels to Paris to settle her inheritance.

1950 – December 28, Louise en Walter Arensberg donate their collection of 40 very important Duchamp-works to the Philadelphia Museum. Lou dies end of 1953, Walter follows two months later.

1952 – March 29, Katherine Dreier dies. Marcel Duchamp is executor and divides her collection beween several American museums. His own ‘Grand verre’ also goes to The Philadelphia Museum.

1954 – Marcel Duchamp is 67 and on January 16 he marries Alexina Sattler. It will be a happy marriage.

1955 – On December 30th Henri Robert Marcel Duchamp becomes an American citizen.

1958 – Marcel Duchamp and Trianon Press, Paris, publish the edition “Eau et Gaz à tous les étages”. Again it is a box with reproductions of Duchamp’s works. 137 copies, 21 of them “grand deluxe”with a real enameled plaque, one can find on houses in Paris, on the cover. Duchamp was absent at the presentation in 1959. He was hiding in Cadaqués.


With My Tongue in My Cheek

(1959, Cadaqués) AS-571
About Duchamp’s attitude in general: his constant jokes and the constant risk of being discovered.
As he does here: his lips (drawing) are melted together with a vagina (sculpture).



Sculpture-morte

(1959, Cadaqués) AS-573
Marcel Duchamp visits Salvator Dali and makes an Arcimboldo. See what Marcel sees in it: a frontal couple of buttocks, an erection with a hand around it and a tongue at a glans. And mainly, it is a self-portrait: Marcel in profile sticks out his tongue. Is he being cheeky or does he want to lick?
  



1960 – The Moderna Museet of Stockholm makes replicas of different Duchamps for an exhibition, Duchamp approves and signs them: ‘Grand verre’, ’3 Stoppages-etalon’, ‘Fresh Widow’, ‘Roue de bicyclette’, ‘Fountain’, ‘In advance of a broken arm’, ‘Porte-bouteilles’, ’50cc Air de Paris’, ‘Why not sneeze, Rose Sélavy?’… some in numerous copies.

1962 – Marcel Duchamp is operated for the second time on his prostate. He had a first operation in 1954.

1963 – On June 9th his oldest brother Jacques Villon dies. His whole life he had been more famous than Marcel, he won many international prizes and accepted several important commissions.

1963 – September 11 Suzanne Duchamp dies of a brain tumor. Marcel inherits her workplace in Neuilly. Jean Crotti had passed away in 1958.

1963 – On October 8 the very first solo-exhibition of Marcel Duchamp opens in the Pasadena Art Museum (California) with 114 works. Duchamp is 76 years old.

1963 – Photographer Julian Walter asks Eve Babitz to sit naked and play a game of chess with Duchamp. Eve Babitz is a big-busted young writer with a liberated sixties-mentality. She has no objection and neither does Marcel. He was never into breasts.


Family Portrait (1899)

(1964, New York) AS-613
Marcel Duchamp is 12 here and apparently a decided little chap. The boss! Suzanne is 10 and has a character of her own, she’s spread her legs a little, already “chaud au cul”? Yvonne is only a 4 year old toddler and Magdeleine is a baby of 1, in diapers. The mother is friendly-serious, the father is rather playful. Other people have been cut away. What remains is the form of the urinal, the triangle with sloping sides, the shape Marcel saw in everything, always and everywhere. Did his games and obsessions really start in 1899?



1964 – Arturo Schwarz who owns a gallery in Milan, makes  editions of several ready-mades, authorized by Duchamp: 8 times ‘Fresh Widow’, 15 times ‘Fountain’, 8 times ‘Roue de Bicyclette’, 8 times ’3 Stoppages-étalon’, 38 times ‘L.H.O.O.Q.’, 8 times ‘Why not sneeze, Rose Sélavy?’, ‘Air de Paris’, ‘Portechapeaux’, ‘Trébuchet’, ‘Apolinaire enameled’, ‘Pliant de voyage’, ‘A bruit secret’, ‘Peigne’, … and ‘Rotoreliëf’, now with 12 discs.

1964 – Duchamp makes a ‘Bouche-évier’ (AS-608) (100 in silver and 100 in bronze), a stopper for the sink, but interpreted differently this is a mouth-sink, which fits the disgusting pleasures of Marcel perfectly well, just like the ‘Belle Haleine’ mouth wash did.


Le Grand Verre complété

(1965, New York) AS-631
Duchamp decides to finally finish his ‘Grand Verre’ after 42 years. Why and why now? Why those additions we already know since 1913? Is that spiral near the spinning sieves that important? And that piece of ‘Combat de boxe’? Furthermore these additions are not applied to the authorized replicas of Tate, Londen and Komaba, Tokyo in 1966.
       



Etant donnés: 1° la chute d’eau / 2° le gaz d’éclairage

(1946-1966, New York) AS-634
(Analysis part 2)
1) Her waterfall and 2) Her gas. The masturbating hand. A vagina that seems “worked on”, stretched? She has breasts, no head, anonymous. Unimportant as a person. A nude in a field. Behind a wall, in which a hole is made. And before that a wooden door, which is situated in a second wall. This wall looks like the outer wall of the parental house in Blainville-Crevon. The right part of the door has been largely worn out. It starts at a crack between the planks and runs all the way down to the floor, like an erection the size of a man. The door in its entirety is the abstraction of a behind. As to be seen in ‘Fresh widow’ (AS-376). It is her butt turned towards us frontally. We can peek through a hole in the door that is placed where her arse would be. It is (her) draught we feel on our faces. Our hand is then coincidentally placed on the glans of the giant penis on the door. We cannot enter because the door has latch nor lock. We are not allowed to go inside, unless the door would be opened from the inside. But there is another wall. We can only be admitted when the female person on the other side makes a hole in the wall first and then opens the door. There is a hole in that wall. Did Suzanne make a hole in her wall to admit Marcel? Or… was the hole made earlier? By someone else from that field? Par une autre personne ‘Du champ’?

 


1966 – Tate Modern, London, shows 184 works. Pop-Artist Richard Hamilton is curator. He makes a replica of ‘Grand verre’ with Marcel Duchamp’s willing cooperation.

1966 – On June 22nd Marcel meets Jeanne Serre again after 40 years, he also meets the daughter he has with her. She paints under the name of Yo Sermayer. Marcel and Teeny will mediate for a show in New York and stay in touch.

1967 – Marcel Duchamp organises an exhibition in Rouen called ‘Les Duchamps’. He shows works of Jacques, Raymond, Suzanne and himself, mixed, in dialogue.

 

Morceaux choisis d’apres Courbet
(March 1968, New York) AS-653
In the last months of his life Marcel Duchamp makes etchings styled after Ingres and Courbet. It fits the ‘outing’ he is secretly working on. Duchamp makes us focus on great classic painters who did the same long before him. as653++
as653+++
Through Marcel’s glasses we have no difficulty seeing the vaginas and erections. Almost all of Courbet’s works show a vagina like in ‘L’Origine du Monde’ from 1866. And ‘Le Bain Turc’ from 1862, by Ingres, is full of vaginas and erections.
It looks like a final message…
 


1968 – Neilly-sur-Seine. In the night following October 1st Marcel Duchamp dies, 81 years old, of a heart attack.


1969 – In the Philadelphia Museum the ‘Etant donnés: 1)la chute d’eau, 2)le gaz d’éclairage’ is shown to the public. The work is a mystery. And it will stay that way, much to the delight of everyone who writes in the art world.


2009 – February 25th. The bottle ‘Belle Haleine’ is auctioned at Christie’s.
Estimated at 1.500.000 euro, sold for 8.900.000 euro!

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POSSIBLE SCENARIO part 4
the boring fate of the genius player

Marcel Duchamp quits his work on the big glass puzzle and at the same time looses his enthusiasm to devise visual search games. Very strange. Does Suzanne have anything to do with this? Or was it his initial plan, to do this for 10 years and then stop?

Meanwhile his joyful game of chess with the art world has delivered a beautiful collection of works. But no one has seen a beautiful collection of works of genius  in it. Because no one participated  in the game. How could they? He continuously changed the rules in his favour. Easy to win that way, but it is the game of a coward. And also boring for Marcel in the long run.

On top of that he has become his own victim. Everything has to be kept secret. Never give away the real explanation, always leave room for alternative meanings. He had to keep quiet as well about his discovery about the Mona Lisa and about Courbet. That would betray all of his own distasteful games. He could not just step out of his hiding mode and make a completely different sort of art. He had to keep on working on things that could not be seen. But you cannot throw ingenious pearls before swine forever. He was stuck in his own game. He was tired of his masturbations.

After his long and amusing art-chess game from 1913 to 1923 Marcel Duchamp devoted himself completely to the serious and real game of chess. The rest of his life will be filled with “L’échecs et les chèques”. He will play chess on a global level, and he will deal in art on a global level. He buys work of befriended Pariasian artists, for himself and for his ‘Société Anonyme Inc’. Often he travels from Paris to New York and back.
Duchamp sells the works when he needs money for his own publications. With ‘Boîte verte’ he mystifies ‘Grand Verre’, with ‘Boîte-en-valise’ he does the same, but with his own self. He receives the necessary attention and becomes a distinct authority within the art scene of that time. On a creative level, nothing much happens during these 45 years. Marcel Duchamp is busy recycling and promoting himself. ‘L.H.O.O.Q.’ has seven repetitions, sometimes in edition. He makes numerous “false cheques”. And many ready-mades get their own replica, sometimes in different editions. He assembles other “Boîtes” as an edition for galleries. What little new creations there are, these are mostly editions. Marcel Duchamp seals money deals and plays chess. The ‘Rotoreliëfs’ sold well those years too. (Did those turning things have anything to do with the possibility of hypnotherapy in Munich?)

In 1946 he starts the hidden disclosure of his self: ‘Etant Donnés: 1)la chute d’eau, 2)le gaz d’éclairage’. His opinion is that everybody, the (art)world and the (art)history, is allowed to know about it… later, after his ultimate hiding trick.

World War II saw the rise of another critical generation of artists. The neo-dadaïsts in the fifties, in the sixties the pop-Art, the opart, the Fluxus movement, the conceptual art and the anti-art. Art, like sexuality, knows an absolute freedom. Marcel Duchamp, 70 years old, no longer participates but is honoured as the father of it all. He is the subject of a great number of publications.
The forever silent Duchamp, who has been hiding his whole life, becomes a famous and widely aknowledged artist in the sixties. Through his games Duchamp hid himself in every ‘ism’. As a young man he was an impressionist, even though he had nothing to do with it, after that he was a fauvist, cubist and futurist, again, without having anything to do with it. Later a dadaïst, then a surrealist. And in the same way he invented conceptualism, without having anything to do with “conceptualism” as it is. “C’est arrivé malgré moi”, was his modest answer: Marcel Duchamp indeed had fun on his own, masturbating, his head in the “urine and fart”-clouds that he kept secret so well.

On the eve of his death, while he was surrounded by friends (Robert Lebel witnesses:), Marcel Duchamp leafed through a recent publication of his work… and sighed: “Ce sont les oeuvres antehumes seulement… les oeuvres posthumes vont suivre, mais qui publiera les autres?” He took a drag from his cigar while looking at his non-comprehending friends. A big cloud of smoke followed, in the middle of it a laughing Marcel.
Marcel Duchamp, the only man ever with the ambition to be seen posthumously. To finally come to life after death!

It is 2012 and still we don’t look at his work the way he did. We still overestimate his silence and underestimate his ingenuity.

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Ref.
: Gorik Lindemans (© 2012)
1924-1968 :  the boring fate of the ingenious player

1-2-3-DUCHAMP !  a visual analysis of Marcel Duchamp
onetwothreeduchamp.wordpress.com

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