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Top 10 Marcel Duchamp Quotes
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Marcel Duchamp Quotes
, 1887 -
I don't believe in art. I believe in artists.
I Believe In
I am interested in ideas, not merely in visual products.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Man can never expect to start from scratch; he must start from ready-made things, like even his own mother and father.
Painter after painter, since the beginning of the century, has tended toward abstraction. First, the Impressionists simplified the landscape in terms of color, and then the Fauves simplified it again by adding distortion, which, for some reason, is a characteristic of our century.
'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.
A painting that doesn't shock isn't worth painting.
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Alchemy is a kind of philosophy: a kind of thinking that leads to a way of understanding.
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.
In the beginning, the cubists broke up form without even knowing they were doing it. Probably the compulsion to show multiple sides of an object forced us to break the object up - or, even better, to project a panorama that unfolded different facets of the same object.
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?
I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.
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.
I am against the word 'anti' because it's a little bit like 'atheist,' as compared to 'believer.' And an atheist is just as much of a religious man as the believer is.
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.
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.
The curious thing about the Ready-Made is that I've never been able to arrive at a definition or explanation that fully satisfies me. There's still magic in the idea, so I'd rather keep it that way than try to be exoteric about it.
There was an incident, in 1912, which 'gave me a turn,' so to speak: when I brought the 'Nude Descending a Staircase' to the Independants, and they asked me to withdraw it before the opening.
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.
From a purely ethnological point of view, I was not a period-born Dada.
Point Of View
In the midst of each epoch, I fully realize that a new epoch will dawn.
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.
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.
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