Saturday, August 22, 2009

Marcel Duchamp and The Art of Chess

from the article,

To use Naumann’s terms, Duchamp’s opening move was to develop – as with chess – an intellectual system of symbols and imagined mechanical movements between figures in his practice. This ambition was most fully realized in The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) (1915–23), which Bailey takes as a focus in order to illustrate the thematic and iconographic correlation between the aesthetics and concepts of Duchamp’s artistic production and his identity as a chess player. Proposing that chess is a critical and largely unrecognized thematic element in The Large Glass, Bailey finds within the work a disguised self-portrait. Seeing what Duchamp referred to, in a separate work of 1914-5, as the nine ‘malic moulds’ of the bachelor figures, like chessmen, as standing for Duchamp, Bailey understands the piece’s representation of failed consummation as denotating the artist’s own bachelorhood, and of his suppressed sexuality. Indeed, if Man Ray is to be believed, Duchamp’s first wife glued his chess pieces to the board in frustration at his misplaced attention.

If you follow the link there is a wonderful 55 minute film of Duchamp.


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