Marcel Duchamp case

 

The writing of this text was motivated by the current state of art and art criticism in France (which has already been going on for a few years here) . Elsewhere , the situation may be more enviable ; it is nevertheless permissible to doubt it , as the official toxic ( = financial) non-art nibbles little by little all the spheres of thought all over the world...

[own translation (helped by automatic translation) of my own text seems pretty good to me , but English-speaking people can correct if they want] 

 

Still consider today Duchamp — the man , the artist , his subjectivity and singularity — as responsible for all this gangrene of so-called contemporary art or official-toxic/financial-non-art that we know since the 70s-80s (from Warhol , who is at best an advertiser , and at worst a plagiarist ; unlike Rauschenberg, Rivers, Kienholz , Blake... : fully artists) , it is really sin by anachronism , otherwise bad faith and / where ignorance...

 

If we have not read and meditated a good part of the following references , if we have not , guided by many great exegetes , followed the labyrinth of his thought , then we do not know Duchamp...

 

The risk is to take in the first degree the time bombs of nonsense that are the readymades : what our official cynics and other gullibles of contemporary art do  

[''art comptant pour rien'' = art counting for nothing] ; as well as the ''dissident critics of art'' , just as ignorant about him , narrow-minded because of the Urinal ; refering to Jean Clair everytime without having yet never read him / or read well...

 

Duchamp had warned : "I threw the bottle-rack and the urinal into their faces as a challenge and now they admire them for the aesthetic beauty ! "

 

This phrase especially , in ''Duchamp du Signe'' , so rarely quoted in its entirety , prevents any imposture : '' At another time , wanting to expose the basic antinomy between art and ''Readymades'' , I imagined a Reciprocal Readymade : use a Rembrandt as an ironing board ! ''

 

I underline : basic antinomy between art and ''Readymades''...

 

As for the ''The Bride Stripped bare by Her Bachelors , Even'', or ''Given : 1. The Waterfall , 2. The Illuminating Gas'' , far from putting down any value , and thereby desecrate the art : these works celebrate on the contrary a female divinity inaccessible in her clouds or in her landscape…

 

Thus Duchamp's in-depth study makes it possible to sort out , gauge , judge the relevance of each and every one of those who claim to be his , to destroy the Ayatollah's verbings , and to return knowingly to be lost in nothingness which engendered them the Koons-Hirst-Delvoye-Cattelan-McCarthy-Weiwei-Lavier-Blazy-Poincheval gang…

 

Some essential references , therefore :

 

Jean Suquet : ''Mirror of the Bride'' ; ''The Great Dreamed Glass'' ; ''Watch the Hour on the Sky of Marcel Duchamp'' ; '' In Vivo , In Vitro '' ; '' Splash Dazzle'' ; ''ABC Blooming'' ; " Poetry ready made "... 


Jean Clair : ''Marcel Duchamp where the Grand Fictitious'' ; ''Marcel Duchamp and the End of Art'' ...
 

Ocatvio Paz : ''Marcel Duchamp : Apparence Stripped Bare''...
 

Michel Vanpeene (the one thanks to whom I started to understand something) : we find some of his beautiful texts in the review Given Marcel Duchamp , which he is one of the founders (which magazine wanted from the outset ''set the record straight'')...

 

Patrice Quéréel (still in the review Given Marcel Duchamp) : including a hilarious text as to the specificity of ''cauchois laugh , which lasts until we do not know if we should laugh or not''...

 

For the most lazy : cf. the excellent double dvd "Marcel Duchamp Iconoclast and Stainless" by Fabrice Maze edited by Seven Doc...

 

See also the fascinating catalog of the very beautiful exhibition Marcel Duchamp / the Painting Even , organized by Cécile Debray in 2014-2015 at the Pompidou Center : young curator whose daring about this worthy Jean Clair enterprise (which has contributed to this catalog)... but that does not matter, the protagonists of the official toxic ''art'' jumped on the occasion in programming Jeff Koons at the same time : thus , in the mind of the visitor lambda no more initiated than that , the passage from one to the other , the legitimization of one by the other could be taken for granted...

 

In a small , rather discreet , text in this catalog , analyzing relationship between Duchamp and satirical press , Didier Semin writes : "With regard to the very rare readymades which contain no kind of inscription , the rumor has become a legend , peddling the idea , of course false , that everyday objects could be promoted "to the dignity of objets d'art by the simple choice of the artist". The most famous — and the most successful ! — philosophical jokes directed against the avant-gardes of the 20th century , and the will of the latter to avoid judgment (...) ''

 

What Jean Clay already formulated in 1975 in ''From Impressionism to Modern Art'' (a great classic of history of art here) : ''For fifteen years (...). Too many artists are content to pasticher Duchamp and select at Prisunic variants that would be eccentric bottle holder. They pretend to believe that the novelty lies in the choice of the object - whereas it was the very gesture that in this case was the work.''


Even without playing chess very well, you can see the beauty of the logical combinations forcing the opponent to checkmate... and then what a mind-blowing swipe the readymade ! , '' disrupter of the museum field (almost immediately after, writes again Jean Clay, recalling the historical context) that Picasso disrupted the field of the painting by introducing a piece of oilcloth) '' ; but actually impassable and closed on itself... 


So , laugh (now forced : ''Tongue in Cheek'') does not end to last ! 


But it is nevertheless possible to extrapolate from Duchamp's gesture a non-exclusive readymade principle , in addition to painting-painting, or sculpture-sculpture (in an interview dating back to the 1960s , Duchamp quotes the very lyrical Joseph Cornell as possible successor of him...) : then freely using reality itself as a material of its own représentation , between the plastic and the semantics , without these modes never reducing each other : without ever, as is the case with impostors , the verbal relegates the visual to the rank of poor illustration... If we do not accept even the possibility of existence of this principle (and why not ? without having to be sensitive to it) , impossible to understand — really understand — for example Louise Bourgeois , Kiki Smith , Joseph Beuys , Marcel Broodthaers , Walter de Maria , Robert Smithson , Richard Long , Andy Goldsworthy , Anna Mendieta , Chris Burden , Yayoi Kusama , Christian Boltanski , Marcel Dzama , Félicie d'Estienne d'Orve , Levi van Veluw , Anselm Kiefer , Ian Hamilton Finlay... : well , I hear spitting all the Kalashnikovs and other machine guns — only virtual , poetic , philosophical means — that Finlay drew here or there against "impurity" [of contemporary art] : how sweet and melodious is the song of the flute... 


[see ''Monument to the First Battle of Little Sparta'', 1983 ; or ''This is not a Pipe - After Magritte (with Gary Hincks)'', 1991]

 
 

 





Éric Vivier