- Year: 2016
- Language: Russian
- Publisher: Ad Marginem
- ISBN: 9785911032944
- Page: 208
- Cover: paperback
Portrait of an artist who probably influenced the art of the twentieth century more than any other, but used to say that among all arts he preferred the art of playing chess.
The introductory pages in the book are dedicated to Duchamp’s extreme passion for chess and the scandalous forms this could take—for instance, a game in public with a naked lady (Eve Babitz, in Pasadena, 1963). Following this, the narration returns to a linear flow, describing the artist’s childhood in a “respectable bourgeois family” and his first artistic experiments among the avant-garde artists from the Puteaux group, which included Francis Picabia and Guillaume Apollinaire who later became Duchamp’s close friends.
The shift from cubist painting to three-dimensional objects was radical, and as early as in 1913 the first ‘readymade’ saw the light—Bicycle Wheel, mounted upside down on a wooden stool: “Thus Duchamp created a new formula of an artwork: from now on, this is not a pale copy of the reality, but something taken directly from the reality.” Two years later, at the Armory Show in New York, “Duchamp was the most well-known Frenchman after Napoleon and Sarah Bernhardt.’”
Inclination towards “works of art that otherwise would not be art” is characteristic not only of Duchamp’s creative work, but also his life. Apart from the Wheel and the more famous Fountain (1917), he created readymades from what happened to be at hand and gave them to his friends as gifts with ingenious titles. Paris Air (1919) turned out to be especially elegant, presented to Walter Arensberg. Whereas one of the Bottle Racks, bought for three dollars by Robert Rauschenberg, the artist titled D’aprés Marcel Duchamp (After Marcel Duchamp).