by Katrina Martin
Studio International – January/February 1975, Vol. 189 No. 973
Duchamp made the film with Man Ray’s help in France from 1924—26. He had earlier lived in New York from 1915—21, where he had become notorious for his work with the ‘assisted ready-mades’. Simply stated, a ready-made is an object which has been taken out of a context which is in any way conventional and placed into a new and strange one, whereby the function of the object chosen changes radically. Through the strange juxtaposition of elements, the overwhelming power of their traditional context is contradicted, and through this mitigation, the artist gains freedom to make an original comment and a unique statement.
The ready-mades took relatively little time and effort to assemble, but at the same time they were each the manifestation of a long intellectual process. Likewise, although ANÉMIC-CINÉMA is obviously not the product of daily travail in a studio, that it took two years to create is justified in this seven-minute film. Despite Duchamp’s reputed flippancy and mockery of art work, this film is a serious and coherent development of the same set of concerns found in his other major works. From ANÉMIC-CINÉMA, it is possible to make the connection to the sense of a urinal submitted in 1917 as an objet d’art, or to enjoy a very phallic object made in 1951 entitled objet dard-dard being common French slang for penis.
Duchamp gave a ready-made thorough consideration and then its actual creation was to him a ‘sort of rendezvous: ... by planning for a moment to come (on such a day, such a date, such a moment), to inscribe a ready-made.’ In 1916 he wrote a series of four postcards in which he followed established syntax but substituted words which would result in the sentences having no meaning. This he said was a considerable task, since every time a word suggested a meaning, he had to choose another in its place. Significantly, he called these post-cards Rendezvous du dimanche or Sunday Rendezvous.
Duchamp was fascinated by language and had several plans for the creation of an entirely new one. He wrote that one of these was based on consonance: ‘If what you want is a grammatical rule: the verb agrees with the subject in consonance: for instance, le nègre aigrit, les négresses aigrissent ou maigrissent, etc.’ The film ANÉMIC-CINÉMA is one realization of such a plan.
Sturtevant: Leaps, Jumps and Bumps
Strangely absent from most histories of Pop and Conceptualism, Elaine Sturtevant’s work is significant for the understanding of both movements.
Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Duchamp
This is not the first time we have “danced around the bride”. It is now well acknowledged that since the Bride rose to fame, art practice has been dancing around this mysterious figure first envisioned in Duchamp’s (in)famous work The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915-23) in one way or another.
The fountain of relief
It is intriguing to be reminded that Duchamp's famous work 'Fountain', around which sanitary perfection the crowds have been eagerly jostling at Tate Modern, is in fact a duplicate of the artist's original.
An Entirely Fresh View of Contemporary French Art
Willem de Kooning observed that although Marcel Duchamp had links to the Cubists, Surrealists, Dadaists and other avant-garde groups, he was a 'one-man movement'. He is also known as a father of contemporary art.
Dada Revisited for the 21st Century
It is not often that an art exhibition ascends to the condition of a total artwork in itself, and at the same time acts as a timely reminder of the true nature of avant gardism in today's art world overwhelmed by the heresy of postmodernism. Such an exhibition came into being in 2005 under the aegis of the Centre Pompidou, in collaboration with the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.