Instytut Historii Sztuki <Posen>   [Hrsg.]
Artium Quaestiones — 5.1991

Seite: 105
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http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/artium_quaestiones1991/0135
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THE DESIGNS AND SKETCHES OF MARCEL DUCHAMP

105

on art, an analysis of its condition and perspectives, which on the
whole seem opitimistic. The optimism appears on account of the
person of Duchamp himself, who (presented as the ninth of the tin
male forms in the lower part of the Glass), would point the way to
the future to other artists.
Another key-expression:,,delay in glass", makes L. Beier" connect
Duchamp's work with Bergson's philosophy. A different test she
found in the notes — ,,plastic duration", seems to confirm the thesis.
Let us add that ,,delay in glass" denotes — according to Burnham,
Duchamp's wish to postpone finishing the Glass (it was left incom-
plete) until the Avant Garde would have proven to be a closed and
limited system.
Critics of Duchamp's notes have not limited themselves to inter-
pretations of the various ,,key-expressions". Large fragment and
whole passages have also been interpreted.
It has already been mentioned that Duchamp himself stressed the
importance of his notes and encouraged critics to make use of them.
Sometimes, such encouragement was offered in the form of some
interpretative clue the artist would suddenly reveal e.g. in an
interview, a clue the notes could confirm. The self-commentary
embedded in the artist's notes could be, and indeed has often been
used both as an auxilliary and a basic interpretative tool. But at the
same time, it gave Duchamp the possibility to actively influence the
process of analysis of his artistic achievement, the possibility to steer
the attention of the critics penetrating the open area of his works
and notes. To steer and, as a consequence, to inspire an active
reception of his works, to increase their ,,productivity", to steer
public interest and eliminate the possibility of the works being
classified, made to conform to a given pattern, frozen in one form.
J. Claire's*" example is characteristic in that context — he connects
the artist's wish to vindicate perspective in painting with the notes
concerning the same subject. As the notes contain remarks both on
perspective and the fourth dimension, Claire's studies bore fruit in
an interpretation in which problems of topology were to a great

^ L. Beier: Time Machine: a Bergsonian Approach to the Large Glass, ,,Gazette des
Beaux Arts", nr 86, 1976.
J. Clair: Marcel Duchamp et la tradition des perspecteurs, in: L'Oeuvre de Marcel
Duchamp, Milano 1967.
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