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Marcel Duchamp Quotes
, 1887 -
What art is, in reality, is this missing link, not the links which exist. It's not what you see that is art; art is the gap.
You have to approach something with indifference, as if you had no aesthetic emotion. The choice of readymades is always based on visual indifference and, at the same time, on the total absence of good or bad taste.
Art is a habit-forming drug. Art has absolutely no existence as veracity, as truth. People always speak of it with this great, religious reverence, but why should it be so revered?
Tradition is the great misleader because it's too easy to follow what has already been done - even though you may think you're giving it a kick. I was really trying to invent, instead of merely expressing myself.
It's a product of two poles - there's the pole of the one who makes the work, and the pole of the one who looks at it. I give the latter as much importance as the one who makes it.
Humor and laughter - not necessarily derogatory derision - are my pet tools. This may come from my general philosophy of never taking the world too seriously - for fear of dying of boredom.
I am interested in ideas, not merely in visual products.
I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.
Everything important that I have done can be put into a little suitcase.
I'm nothing else but an artist, I'm sure, and delighted to be.
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I shy away from the word 'creation.' In the ordinary, social meaning of the word - well, it's very nice, but fundamentally, I don't believe in the creative function of the artist. He's a man like any other.
There does not exist a painter who knows himself or knows what he is doing.
One does not contemplate it like a picture. The idea of contemplation disappears completely. Simply take note that it's a bottle rack, or that it's a bottle rack that has changed its destination... It's not the visual question of the readymade that counts; it's the fact that it exists, even.
I don't believe in art. I believe in artists.
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When I put a bicycle wheel on a stool, the fork down, there was no idea of a 'ready-made' or anything else. It was just a distraction. I didn't have any special reason to do it, or any intention of showing it or describing anything.
It is curious to note how fragile the memory is, even for the important times in one's life. This is, moreover, what explains the fortunate fantasy of history.
'Art or anti-art?' was the question I asked when I returned from Munich in 1912 and decided to abandon pure painting or painting for its own sake. I thought of introducing elements alien to painting as the only way out of a pictorial and chromatic dead end.
Man can never expect to start from scratch; he must start from ready-made things, like even his own mother and father.
The danger is in pleasing an immediate public: the immediate public that comes around you and takes you in and accepts you and gives you success and everything. Instead of that, you should wait for fifty years or a hundred years for your true public. That is the only public that interests me.
In the 'Nude Descending a Staircase,' I wanted to create a static image of movement: movement is an abstraction, a deduction articulated within the painting, without our knowing if a real person is or isn't descending an equally real staircase.
If your choice enters into it, then taste is involved - bad taste, good taste, uninteresting taste. Taste is the enemy of art, A-R-T.
A painting that doesn't shock isn't worth painting.
Since Courbet, it's been believed that painting is addressed to the retina. That was everyone's error. The retinal shudder! Before, painting had other functions: it could be religious, philosophical, moral... our whole century is completely retinal, except for the Surrealists, who tried to go outside it somewhat.
All painting, beginning with Impressionism, is antiscientific, even Seurat. I was interested in introducing the precise and exact aspect of science, which hadn't often been done, or at least hadn't been talked about very much.
Alchemy is a kind of philosophy: a kind of thinking that leads to a way of understanding.
Artists of all times are like the gamblers of Monte Carlo, and this blind lottery allows some to succeed and ruins others. In my opinion, neither the winners nor the losers are worth worrying about.
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