Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Marcel Duchamp, Windows and Doors

At a certain point Duchamp, in turning away from painting, turned to the window.  He said he could speak of his windows as one speaks of one’s etchings.  Paintings, of course, are often spoken of as windows on worlds, sometimes on interior worlds.  Duchamp enjoyed making metaphors literal.  The black leather panes in the Fresh Window he said would have to be shined every morning like a pair of shoes in order for them to shine like real panes.  His most famous work, the Bride stripped bare by her Bachelors even, is another window, one which is meant to separate the object of admiration from the desiring viewer.   In Étant donnés: 1° la chute d’eau / 2° le gaz d’éclairage there is no glass between the observer and the beloved, but there is an unopenable door through which one can look by way of those stereoscopic peepholes the artist has kindly provided.  I felt it would be kind as well to present a relatively early work from 1907 that shows a man turned away from an open window reading by its light.

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