This site is part of Dew Harrison's '4D Duchamp - deconstructing Duchamp'
project about one of Marcel Duchamp's major works 'The Bride stripped bare
by her Bachelors, even' or 'Large Glass'. That work consists of several
parts and each participant of the project researches one of those parts.
The part I am doing is the cloud-like form at the top, called 'Top
Inscription' or 'Milky Way' or 'cinematic Blossoming'.
Duchamp had the habit of making notes and sketches when thinking about his
works. And he even bundled some of them. One of those bundles is about the
Large Glass and is called the Green Box. In it you can find the following sketch
of the Blossoming part of the Large Glas.
The text, according to 'Duchamp du Signe' (1975, Flammarion, Paris), is:
"Sorte de voie lactée couleur chair entourant inégalement densément
les 3 Pistons (c'est-à-dire il y aura une couche transparente sur le verre
puis les 3 Pistons puis un autre couche de voie lactée). Cette voie lactée
chair devant servir de support à l'inscription qui s'occupe avec les tirés
du canon (en A)."
I'll try to translate it. Please let me know if you know of a better
"Kind of a
milky way surrounding unevenly dense the
three Pistons (that is there will be a transparent layer on the glass then
the 3 Pistons then another layer of milky way). This flesh milky way
having to serve as support for the inscription that occupies itself with
the shots of the canon (at A)."
For those not familiar with or not interested in Duchamp one could simply
describe 'The Bride stripped bare by her Bachelors, even' as a
representation of human sex, in its narrow personal as well as in it's
broader social meaning.
The upper part is the Bride, the female organism or principle.
The lower part is the Bachelors: men or the male world.
The whole is a process where Woman stimulates Men so they set their sex
machine in motion. At the end of this process we find the males shooting
to the top where the female resides, which will in turn stimulate Woman.
For an extensive description please read
'The Large Glass' by Richard Hamilton
(in 'Marcel Duchamp', The Museum of
Modern Art, New York 1973 or
Prestel-Verlag, Munich, 1989)
This website is not finished.
Duchamp was very much a researcher and I consider this website also as a
kind of research. I will continue to develop it.
In retrospect Duchamps works are very closely related and an untold story
connects the different pieces. The story starts with a virgin
who turns into a bride. This process may or may not have something to do
with her relationship with bachelors. Men are and remain bachelors. The
woman turns into a bride. Whether the virgin/bride is an object of desire
for the bachelors or whether She is the personification of desire should
not be made clear. She is probably both. The Blossoming is a product of
the interaction between the bachelors and the bride. It may be an orgasm,
it may be desire, it may be both. Somehow the Bride gives 'fuel' (or gas
or electricity) to the bachelor machine. Maybe The Blossoming is this fuel.
It is at the same time the result of what happens in the bachelor machine
as what provokes the action.
This website does not intend to offer an interpretation of part of The
Large Glass. It will try to illustrate how I feel about it, without trying
to be conclusive. It's an exploration rather than an analysis.
Since Duchamp speaks of 'layers' in his description of the Milky Way you
will need a browser that supports that feature like Netscape Navigator 4. ;)
This is a sexist work.
The premise for a lot of Duchamps work is the difference between the sexes.
An evil feminist might come to the conclusion that for Duchamp woman is
just a mute object of desire for a multitude of male viewers. And in a
way she would be right. And in another way she should would not.
This is about what is said and what is not said between the sexes,
but also about what is known and what is not known. About the silence
caused by desire, about the silence caused by taboos and about the
silence caused by fatal ignorance.
This is a linear website. You need to have seen one part to be
able to access the next. When it is finished the site will consist
of 6 parts. Up till now only 2 parts are accessible.
Key works by Duchamp for my view on The Cinematic Blossoming are
'Female fig leaf' (1950, galvanized plaster, 9*14*12.5 cm) and
'Wedge of Chastity' (1954, galvanized plaster and dental plastic, 5.6*8.5*4.2 cm)
because of their treatment of the (female) body as a sensual, yet somehow untouchable
and uncommunicative idol.
'The Passage from Virgin to Bride' (1912, oil on canvas, 59.4*54 cm)
because of its title and its relationship to the Large Glass.
'With My Tongue in My Cheek' (1959, plaster, pencil, paper, mounted on wood, 25*15*5.1 cm)
because of its ambiguous obscenity.
'Please Touch' (1947, collage of foam rubber and velvet on cardboard, 23.5*20.5 cm,
cover of catalog 'Le surréalisme en 1947') because of the combination of sensuality and design.
'Couple of Laundress' Aprons' (1959, ready made in 2 parts (male & female) each 20.3*17.7 cm)
because it illustrates the difference between the sexes.
'Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas' (1946-66, mixed media)
because of its figuration: nature and a 'closed' female body.
PS: Click on the picture at the