Thursday, June 02, 2011

Your Daily Duchamp

After "abandoning" The Large Glass in 1923, Marcel Duchamp said that he was giving up art to devote his time t his favorite past time, chess.  Of course, in the following decades until his death in 1968, he created another kind of art altogether, conceptual and intellectual.
Thus, it came as a surprise to his admirers as well as his detractors that he had secretly worked for 2 decades on an elaborate final project. He had rented an apartment and worked  on a piece that was boldly realistic and cryptically mysterious.
After he died, an installation manual was found in a safety deposit box in a New York bank. It was installed as he wished in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. For years, according to his wishes, it was not allowed to be photographed, but viewed only through a small aperture in a rustic door.
This is a short movie inspired by the work.
The proper name of the piece is, Etant donnes (Given;1 The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas) It is a tableau, visible only through a pair of peep holes of a nude woman lying on her back with her face hidden holding a gas lamp in the air against a landscape backdrop.
Mixed media assemblage: (exterior) wooden door, iron nails, bricks and stucco; (interior) bricks, velvet, wood, parchment over an armature of lead, steel, brass, synthetic putties and adhesives, aluminum sheet, welded steel-wire screen, and wood; pegboard, hair, oil paint, plastic, steel binder clips, plastic clothes pins, twigs, leaves, grass, plywood, brass piano hinge, nails, screws, cotton, collotype prints, acrylic varnish, chalk, graphite, paper, cardboard, tape, pen ink, electric light fixtures, gas lamp (Bec Auer type), foam rubber, cork, electric motor, cookie tin and linoleum.

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