gallery 26    
  • © Milan Golob: Andrzej Kondratiuk (1936-2016), 2016, oil on canvas, 18×18 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Cveta Glavočić (1944-2011), 2016, oil on canvas, 18×20 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Maria Gioconda Vallini (1817-1896), 2016, oil on canvas, 18×20 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Maria Wernitznigg (1906-1957), 2016, oil on canvas, 18×20 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Sandra Čavkić (1986-2016), 2016, oil on canvas, 18×18 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Johann Nepomuk Haller (1792-1826), 2016, oil on canvas, 21×19 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Stanislav Abraht (1928-2015), 2016, oil on canvas, 21×19 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Bill Cunningham (1929-2016), 2016, oil on canvas, 22×21 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Daniela Bodi (1962-1971), 2016, oil on canvas, 21×19 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Jakov Depolo (1874-1942), 2016, oil on canvas, 18×19 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Max Lion (1823-1890), 2016, oil on canvas, 19×21 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Tomaž Pandur (1963-2016), 2016, oil on canvas, 20×18 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Vincenzo Alessandretti (1865-1942), 2016, oil on canvas, 19×20 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Tona Bervaldi (1851-1951), 2016, oil on canvas, 19×21 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Mehmedalija Hatić (1948-2015), 2016, oil on canvas, 19×21 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Fernanda Boldrini (1908-1927), 2016, oil on canvas, 26×23 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Ricciotti Bernini (1897-1972), 2016, oil on canvas, 27×24 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Milan Surina (1923-2016), 2016, oil on canvas, 18×19 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Monica Bodi (1961-1971), 2016, oil on canvas, 27×23 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Ria Höchelein (1936-1989), 2016, oil on canvas, 26×23 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Pietro Kandler (1804-1872), 2016, oil on canvas, 19×21 cm
  • Alfred Jarry (1873-1907), title of painting not created yet (© Milan Golob)
  • Roger Whitney Shattuck (1923-2005), title of painting not created yet (© Milan Golob)
  • François Rabelais (ca. 1494–1553), title of painting not created yet (© Milan Golob)
  • © Milan Golob: Jutta Indorf (1926-2011), 2016, oil on canvas, 21×19 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Karl Ohlmann (1916-1945), 2016, oil on canvas, 20×19 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Petar Biočić (1941-1998), 2016, oil on canvas, 18×20 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Umberto Grandi (1878-1959), 2016, oil on canvas, 19×18 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Joseph von Lindwurm (1824-1874), 2016, oil on canvas, 21×19 cm
  • © Milan Golob: Adelinde Reiterer (1921-1963), 2016, oil on canvas, 21×19 cm
Andrzej Kondratiuk (1936-2016), 2016, oil on canvas, 18×18 cm

 



 

 

 

William Anastasi
Jarry in Duchamp*

*William Anastasi; Jarry in Duchamp, New│Art (examiner), October 1997, pp. 10-15.

In three essays — Duchamp on the Jarry Road, Artforum, September, 1991; Jarry, Joyce, Duchamp and Cage, for the catalogue to the Venice Biennale, 1993; and Jarry in Joyce, for the 1995 Joyce Studies Annual — William Anastasi presented part of his research on the sources for Marcel Duchamp's oeuvre, including both his visual works and the writings that accompanied them. His main finds were in the works o f the French playwright and influential late-nineteenth-century cultural icon Alfred Jarry (1873-1907). William Anastasi suggested that a significant number of telling details in Duchamp's work were derived directly from his reading of Jarry. Here, William Anastasi suggests another set of relationships between the work of Duchamp and the writings of Jarry.

I will limit myself here to point to the close connections between the author of The Supermale and the author of The Bachelor Machine In a mirror relationship. - Jean Clalr[1]

Twenty-three years before Marcel Duchamp decided to have himself photographed in women's clothes-giving birth to his famous alter ego Rrose Selavy—Aifred Jarry put on a pair of canary-yellow shoes belonging to the novelist Marguerite Eymery, known as Rachilde, to attend Stéphane Mallarmé's funeral. Jarry revered Mallarmé, a leader of the Symbolist school, as would Duchamp, Mallarmé had been to at least one soirée enhanced by Monsieur Jarry wearing Rachilde's velvet-laced slippers punctuated with large bows. Rachilde was the only woman Jarry had time for, with the conspicuous exception of his own mother. Jarry admired Rachilde's mind, praised her writing, and, totally out of character, tended to regard her as an equal.[2]




Alfred Jarry; La Jubilation du Pere Ubu. Woodcut, 1901.


Jarry adored his mother to the point of obsession, and disliked his father with nearly equal fervor. Duchamp, by contrast, was not at all fond of his own distant mother, but had an abiding regard for his father. One could say that Duchamp's emotions in this quarter amounted to an inversion of Jarry's.

Duchamp wrote: "Rrose Selavy finds that an incesticide must sleep with his mother before killing her; bedbugs are the rule."[3] In this handful of words Duchamp's alter ego gives a terse precis of one Jarry's most autobiographically informative works, L'Amour Absolu (Absolute Love). This short novel tells of Emmanuel, who sleeps with his mother, then kills her. Duchamp's pun combines "incest" and "insecticide." Jarry, in a vivid passage picturing the incestuous joining, gives us the idea of a mirror and of an insect: "If their mouths fastened together like an insect and its peer on the other side of a mirror, it was to hold back—from elsewhere—the swooning of their bodies."[4] Earlier in the novel, just after the mother first offers herself to her son, she suggests "a hansom to the Bois de Boulogne by the hour, or a private room." The narrative continues: "These words in no wise conjured up incest to him but rather the immediate reviviscence of the notary's wife. 'Be sure,' he decided to say, 'to include crabs.'"[5] Although the reference here seems to the swimming variety of crab, lice occur elsewhere in the novel, as they do, along with other insects and larvae, almost as a leitmotif throughout Jarry's works, symbolizing at various times decadence, metamorphosis, or renewal. And, by every account, the fictional lice were not without their living counterparts during the poverty-stricken writer's actual days and nights. "Bedbugs are de rigueur" works in more ways than one.

To peer a bit deeper into this "mirror relationship," consider Duchamp's proclamation, "Each word I tell you is stupid and false," a sort of customized version of the classic paradox set forth by Epimenides of Crete: "All Cretans are liars." If a statement declaring every word false is itself false, it would mean the opposite. Or would it? Equally paradoxical is Duchamp's pleading stupid. Was this word thrown in as ironic counterpoint to Andre Breton accusing him of being the most intelligent man of the twentieth century? One of the prime tenets of Jarry's "pataphysics," his alternate hypothesis for the workings of the universe, is that opposites are identical. As Roger Shattuck phrases it in his essay "What is Pataphysics," for Jarry "The idea of 'truth' is the most imaginary of all solutions."[6] Duchamp lines up squarely behind this with another of his confessions, "I don't believe in truth." On occasion he could sound almost self annihilating on the subject: "I am a pseudo, all in all, that's my characteristic." Jarry could have been describing Duchamp as well as Emmanuel, his incestuous hero of L'Amour Absolu, when he wrote, "Thus, being certain that in order to be understood, he can only tell lies, any lie is immaterial to him."[7]

In 1965, three years before Duchamp's death, the German art historian Serge Stauffer sent the artist a list of questions. Among these we find "Was Alfred Jarry an influence?" Duchamp replied, "Not directly, only in an encouragement found in Jarry's general attitude toward what passed for literature in 1911."[8] Since Jarry had been four years in his grave by 1911, we can conclude that Duchamp's memory, in this instance, was faulty or that he was actually referring to the attitude found in Jarry's writing, But there is an excellent reason for that year to have come to mind vis-à-vis Jarry. It was in 1911 that Jarry's influential Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician first appeared in print. Guillaume Apollinaire, with good reason, called it the publication event of the year. Ideas and imagery from this work crop up constantly, often barely disguised, in Duchamp's notes and artworks. Nobel laureate Octavio Paz showed an acute understanding of Duchamp's debt to Jarry when he wrote, "The best commentary on the Large Glass is Ethernites, the last book of the Gestes et opinions du Docteur Faustroll. A doubly penetrating commentary because it was written before the work was even conceived."[9] The reach of this pithy observation becomes more apparent when we remember Duchamp's global statements, "The Large Glass is the most important work I ever made," and to Arturo Schwarz, "In my whole life ... I have done but one work, the Large Glass."[10]




Marcel Duchamp; Coffee Mill (Moulin de café), 1911, oil on cardboard, 33×12,7 cm (13''×5'')


In the face of the evidence, Duchamp denying Jarry as a direct influence looms as a fib of marvelous dimensions. On the other hand, Duchamp's statement to Calvin Tomkins, "Rabelais and Jarry are my gods, evidently,"[11] fits quite well. And if Rabelais, buried four centuries earlier, is the dead god, Jarry, alive and raising hell until Duchamp was 20, is the living one. Jarry openly admired Rabelais, his "eternal favorite."[12] Duchamp may have noticed in Faustroll that of the 27 volumes listed in the doctor's library, 26 are individual titles of various authors. Only in Rabelais's case does a name stand alone, signaling that his entire oeuvre is being so honored. But it is not Rabelais's imagery that keeps striking us reading Duchamp's notes, it is Jarry's. Duchamp probably denies Jarry as a direct influence to one writer, and blurs the issue with another, because he was loathe to publicly hitch his cart to the same genius openly adored by Picasso, Dali, Miró, and Ernst, as well as most of the Futurists and other Surrealists and Dadaists. This is consistent with Duchamp's "I-stand-alone" posture. By the time of Stauffer's question he vigorously resisted associating with groups or trends. As he once summed up his view of the scene, "In a shipwreck, it's every man for himself." Duchamp's friend John Cage, in a 1991 conversation we had about the artist's discrete use of Jarry's imagery, said, "Well, he was a wonderful man and I was extremely fond of him. But he did love secrets."[13]

The truth is that Duchamp, in his own words, had clearly pointed to Jarry as a direct influence more than half a century earlier when, in 1914, he wrote:

Arrhe est a art que merdre est à merde:
arrhe / art = merdre / merde[14]

An English translation might read, "Deposit is to art as shitte is to shit."


In this art-defining formula, the only word not found in any dictionary is Jarry's by then famous coinage, Merdre, where he added an "r" to merde, as Duchamp later would to "Rose." He created a merde with the same number of r's as in his own name. Again, see "Rrose."[15] (If, as Jarry's pataphysics avows, opposites are identical, a rose could easily equal excrement.) Merdre was the opening word of Ubu Roi, Jarry's nose-thumbing, map-altering play of 1896, which by 1914 was widely recognized as having marked the end of one epoch in the arts and the beginning of another. Of the three conventional words in the formula, two give no challenge to the translator. Merde means shit in French and art is art in both languages. Only arrhe (which sounds suspiciously close to a carelessly mouthed "Jarry'" without the "J") permits a number of distinct possibilities. The most common translation is "deposit." The erotic was a constant preoccupation with Duchamp, as it certainly had been for Jarry. (Rrose Selavy's name is a pun on Eros, c'est la vie.) At the age of 72, looking back on his long career, Duchamp said, "Eroticism is a subject very dear to me ... In fact, I thought the only excuse for doing anything was to introduce eroticism into life. Eroticism is close to life, closer than philosophy or anything like it; it's an animal thing that has many facets and is pleasing to use, as you would use a tube of paint."[16] Given this outlook, one can easily guess that his use of the word "arrhe" points more to the sexual than to any other place on the compass. From a primitive male point of view, a deposit of semen is the goal of each act of sexual intercourse. This could not have been overlooked by Duchamp, the punster responsible for "Have you already put the hilt of the foil in the quilt of the goil?"[17] Therefore, one interpretation of his formula must be: "My way of saying fucking corresponds to everyone else's way of saying art as Jarry's way of saying shit corresponds to everyone else's way of saying shit."—or more succinctly: "My fucking is to your art as Jarry's shit is to your shit." Duchamp liked to say that he was not an artist, but a breather. Could he have been using the word "breather" as a euphemism for another common function of the species? That he saw sexual intercourse as hardly more complicated than breathing is implied by his lifestyle in those years and by his remark, admittedly far from original, "You can have a woman any time you want one."

Arrhe can also mean earnest pledged or money advanced, which would give us: "Money advanced is to art in general as Jarry's shit is to shit in general"—no doubt Duchamp's puckish way of saying "Jarry's wake-up call for twentieth-century art is like money in the bank for me." While Duchamp denied being a conscious alchemist,[18] turning shit into money does seem next door to transforming lead into gold.




Allred Jarry; O. L 'admiration (Ie nombril du Pere Ubu). Woodcut, 1901.


An ancient French proverb tells us that money has no smell. Jarry disagrees. In Ubu Roi, phynance is equated with merdre.[19] Jerrold Seigel says of Jarry, "He was perhaps the first figure to make direct confrontation with his audience a generating principle of his work. All the twentieth-century movements that make action and provocation central to artistic practice were foreshadowed by him."[20] Duchamp's upended urinal, Fountain of 1917, was seen as the first all-out provocation in the visual arts. The artist was simply watering down Jarry's merdre. A naively tautological "formula" might be composed which starts with the last word of the arrhe formula and ends with Fountain: Merde est à toilette que pisse est à urinoir—Shit is to toilet as piss is to urinal. In Jarry's Les Minutes de sable memorial, with its Palotins pissing through a faucet, the chorus leader Barbapoux (Beardlice), indicating a sewer system, says, "Let us dive into these sea-green undergrounds." The act begins with him singing a hymn in which he demands that various ancient thrones and altars symbolizing past art and philosophy be thrown into the pit or whirlpool (gouffre). "Under our magic hands, the moisture and darkness will scatter in libations that make the earth fertile. And, in our art ... the filthy is glorified." Jarry's action has Beardlice, clearly representing the author's position, diving underground. Duchamp's famous statement that the artist must go underground is a stunningly literal echo. Jarry's depiction of the burying of the past as soil renewal can be read as an incisive prophesy of Duchamp's stance and eventual achievement. And with his urinal on-a-pedestal, Duchamp seems to have gone out of his way to make Jarry's words flesh: "In our art ... the filthy is glorified." Four years after Fountain, Duchamp creates Rrose. The New York public of 1921 would see cross-dressing as no less a provocation than did the Paris public of Jarry's time.

There is other striking evidence of Jarry's direct influence on Duchamp three years before the arrhe formula. In 1911, the very year of Faustroll's publication, Duchamp painted The Coffee Grinder which he would eventually call his "window to the future." With arrhe/merdre and dust preserving,[21] with the clock in profile[22] and the unscrewing of urinals,[23] we see Jarry's verbal imagery appearing in visual or altered verbal form in Duchamp. In the case of The Coffee Grinder we see a painting cunningly based on a picture of Jarry's. (Though known mainly for his writing, Jarry did some paintings and made numerous primitively brutal prints.[24])

It has been suggested that The Coffee Grinder is the first painting which depicts motion diagrammatically. However, a Jarry woodcut made 15 years earlier, which actually resembles a diagram, not only depicts motion, but a similar kind of motion. And it accomplishes this using the identical graphic device, a circular dotted line moving clockwise and ending just short of 12 o'clock. Jarry's depiction ends with a blob, Duchamp's ends with an arrow. The print, titled La jubilation du Pere Ubu, depicts Jarry's anti-hero captured in the unglamorous throes of masturbation, caustically disguised as the popular French diversion of cup and ball-or rather its obscene variant involving a prong and ring. (Jarry, presumably signifying futility, shows a prong and a ball.) His oversized scrotum seems to correspond to the base of the grinder, his left hand gripping the phallus shape becomes for Duchamp the gear which encircles the vertical shaft near the top of the base. The thin tip of the prong, or Ubu's member, is rendered almost exactly in Duchamp's painting. And Ubu's right arm and hand prefigures, in angle and position, the dark form which starts large ,and rectangular near the painting's left border, becoming thinner and curved as it points to the gear. If we visualize Ubu's body as box-like instead of spherical and raise the do-it-yourself sketch to face level, the identification is persuasive. In support of this reading recall that within two years Duchamp would paint Chocolate Grinder No.1, directly associating it with masturbation in his notes: "The bachelor grinds his chocolate himself." Components of "The Bachelor Machine" section of the Large Glass include "Vicious circle," "Monotonous fly wheel," and "Onanism."[25]

On the same page of the Pleiade edition of Jarry's Oeuvres completes, we find another woodcut print which, in its childish peep-show way, points to Duchamp's last exhibited work, the Etant Donnes. Titled O. L 'admiration (Ie nombril du Pere Ubu), it shows our ubiquitous anti-hero gleefully exposing his navel. But except for the title, we would swear that Pa is proudly parading a vagina, and a fairly outsized one at that. In the print, Ubu holds up his tunic so that it completes the oval started by his body-we see an oval within an oval. In Duchamp's posthumously exhibited tableau the vertical oval made by the hole through the brick wall recalls the print's horizontal oval. The sprawled female figure has a visible navel, but an even more visible vagina—in related earlier works referred to by Duchamp as "my woman with open pussy."[26] Ubu uses both hands to help reveal his anatomy, Duchamp's woman uses her only visible hand to hold a lamp up to the proceedings. The tying of this print to the Etant Donnes supplements my earlier identification of two female characters from The Supermale as sources for the figure in Duchamp's opus posthumous.[27]

Jarry repeated themes incessantly, and they continually show up in Duchamp's work. In the Large Glass notes we find that the bride and the bachelors are machines whose only function is sex. There are, before Jarry, two important nineteenth-century precedents for the idea of a machine-woman: The Sandman, a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann of 1817—after dramatized in Offenbach's opera, The Tales of Hoffmann-and the novel L' Eve future (Eve of the Future) of 1880-86, by Villiers de l'lsle-Adam. Romantic love is the raison d'etre for both stories. Jarry may well have been influenced by these works, well known in his time, and Duchamp must have known of them as well. But when anthropomorphic, libidinous robots appear in Jarry, romantic love has nothing to do with it—equally true of Duchamp's bride and bachelors as revealed in his notes. And Jarry alone of the three precursors gives us male as well as female machines-bachelors as well as brides.

Fernand Léger once observed Duchamp, in the midst of motors and propellers at a Paris aviation show, turning to Brancusi and saying, "Painting is finished. Who can do anything better than this propeller?"[28] One is immediately reminded of a line in Jarry's Visions of Present and Past: "Today we behold, alas, a universal substitution of Science for Art, and it is the Machine that may achieve the great Geste Beau in spite of our esthetic will."[29] And it sounds as though Jarry's "esthetic will" ran out of patience entirely when he wrote, "To hell with esthetics." Duchamp echoes this sentiment too, though he makes it more personal, with his pronouncement that he wanted to kill art—"for myself."[30]

Duchamp presented machine-made objects as artworks and has sex-hungry machines as the sole inhabitants of his Large Glass. Jarry's Les Palotins are robots-rubberized locomotive servants. We learn, in Visions, that "They are/Mechanical, yet regain their strength only by resting, like/Living creatures in ophidian casings of tin."[31] In Ubu Cuckolded, they climb out of their (now stainless-steel) boxes and recite, "We get our eats through platinum teats."[32] We pee through a tap without a handle/[33] And we inhale the atmostale/Through a tube as bent as a Dutchman's candle! "And though mere machines, sex is in their repertoire: "In our ridiculous looniforms/[34] We wander through streets so pansy, / or else we plug the bockle-and-jug / Of every slag who takes our fancy."

In a 1902 article for La Revue Blanche, tilted "Wife-beaters," Jarry tells of a "matrimonial agent who was at the same time a large rubber manufacturer" who made "spouses of elastic rubber available for two thousand francs per specimen, three thousand with a made-to-order head." We learn that "one enters into communication with them by means of a valve," (machines have valves) and are told that "honeymooning in their company Is incomparable." (Another term for a honeymooning wife would be "bride.") It is ready-made machine-brides that Jarry is depicting.[35]

The machine-bride and the ready-made are arguably the two most entrenched ideas to be found in Duchamp's entire oeuvre. And, since valves regulate flow, It sounds as though Duchamp's bride, like Jarry's counterpart, might be "communicated" with through a similar device. In posthumously published notes for the Large Glass, under the heading "Compression," we find: "cones in elastic metal (resembling udders) passing drop by drop the erotic liquid which descends toward the hot chamber, onto the planes of slow flow, to impregnate it with oxygen required for the explosion, the dew of Eros," (Emphasis and punctuation Duchamp's.) Back to Jarry: "The nice people of whom we speak are no different from real women, only they suffer more quickly the ravages of time: the rubber cracks and 'dies' after about three years, It must be repainted and the epidermis loses its suppleness. But there are so many 'natural' women who need to repair themselves every day! Besides, they [the un-natural spouses] can prolong their duration with some treatments, for example by storing them in a cool place, such as a good cellar.[36] They are very reserved and docile and apart from their natural elasticity, lack all initlative.[37] One can lead them on in the world without their committing too many absurdities. Any uncalled-for flirtatiousness only opposes the delay of their conquest."[38] And they are incomparable honeymooners, "owing to the economy of transport:" Meaning of course, that among other advantages, they can be carried in a suitcase. See Duchamp's Box in a Valise. Considering that "box" is common slang for vagina, and that the motorized bride is the star of Duchamp's opus magnum, the match with Jarry's honeymooning robot is irresistible.

Jarry begins a 1901 article describing "A very young person, fresh faced, of modest appearance and very likely virgin if we are to believe some dozen aged and respectable men who pleased themselves to verify this virtuous detail"[39] Duchamp's bride motor "must appear as an apotheosis of virginity."[40] In another article, "Time in Art" from 1902, Jarry describes "The Eternal" as "a true artist [with] the attitude of the woman consumed with curiosity, with timid desire." Duchamp's bride "transmits her timid-power-she is this very timid-power." But at other times, she doesn't sound too timid since she "goes so far as to help towards complete nudity by developing in a sparkling fashion her intense desire for the orgasm." In The Supermale, Ellen Elson says, "I'm not naked enough. Couldn't I take this thing off my face?" The mask to which she refers is the sole stitch preventing complete nudity as she assists Marcueil in reaching his record 82 consummations in 24 hours. And a clear reference is made to her own desire for orgasm at the end of this impressive feat when she surprises her lover with these words: "At last we're through with the betting to please ... Now let's think of ourselves. We haven't yet made love... for pleasure!"

The more one compares Duchamp's notes and conceptions with Jarry's novels, plays, and articles the stronger the certainty that when Duchamp talked of the viewer's "deciphering and interpreting" the work of art in order to "complete" it, he knew that without a thorough study of Jarry's works such completion of his own work would not be possible.[41] And It is of further significance that Duchamp's larger aesthetic credo couples so snugly with Jarry's world view. The myriad connections between minutiae in the artist's notes and specifics in Jarry's works echo in an almost seamless accord of symphonic breadth. The bulk of Duchamp scholarship has concentrated on rehearsing the differences between him and everybody else. Jarry's works too are different, notwithstanding the army of influences he was in the habit of citing. A close comparison of the products of these two intellectual debtors strongly supports the thesis that, for Marcel Duchamp, the Oeuvres completes of Alfred Jarry was the ultimate ready·made.

Afterword
... we shall not have succeeded in demolishing
everytning unless we demolish the ruins as well.
But the only way I can see of doing that is to
put up a lot of fine. well-designed buildings.
-Alfred Jarry[42]

Assuming any point of view, what Marcel Duchamp did for art is without precedent. Pro: He was a liberator who presided over a needed reordering of aesthetics in our culture. Contra: He was the most abruptly destructive phenomenon in the history of art. Asked about the sources behind his iconoclastic innovations, he would answer that it was all from literature. When pressed for names he often mentioned Jean-Pierre Brisset, Jules Laforgue. Comte de Lautréamont, and Raymond Roussel. On other occasions he brought up Mallarmé and Gaston de Pawlowski. My studying suggests that the use of ideas and imagery from these writers is slight, that they resemble red herrings more than they do muses. I believe that Craig Adcock was on solid ground when he said, "I didn't see any Duchamp in books like Gaston de Pawlowski's. I am just curious if casual references on Duchamp's part to those kinds of mystical sources may have been intended to mislead us a little bit or to put scholars onto the wrong track."[43] Supporting this view, a solid parallel exists in Jarry, whose whole approach delighted in ridiculing literal minded scholars.[44]




Marcel Duchamp; Etant Donnés: 1. la chute d'eau, 2. le gaz d'éclairage, 1946-66.
(View through the door of the installation.)


Duchamp not only failed to list Alfred Jarry as one of his direct influences, he went on record denying as much. When Arturo Schwarz suggested obliquely that Jarry may have been the source for a drawing (To Have the Apprentice in the Sun, 1914) the artist did not deny it, but managed to gracefully change the subject without confirming it.[45] Yet, he himself would sometimes mention Jarry unbidden. When asked what Même (Even) signified in the title of his "one work," The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), he answered, "It's like Jarry's 'ha-ha'," referring to the one-word vocabulary of Faustroll's baboon. In a letter published in 1959 in the Surrealist magazine Medium, Duchamp wrote, "It is a pleasure for me to see that there is more than' arassuxiat' ["art a succes"] in Paris. By plagiarizing Jarry we can put pat Art up against the current pomposity." There are three interviews concerning Dada during which Duchamp refers to Jarry as a Dadaist the way Rabelais and Aristophanes are Dadaists. In one of his responses, he adds, "a great man" after mention of Jarry. My view is that Jarry was the great source for Duchamp. Keeping this to himself, while strewing the works and notes with intriguing clues, became a game between us and them which he would pursue to the end with intermittent energy, but consistent amusement.

*[William Anastasi; Jarry in Duchamp, New│Art (examiner), October 1997, pp. 10-15.]


Notes:

[1] Clair's brief contribution to the exhibition catalogue "Duchamp," Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1977, 110.
[2] Keith Beaumont, Alfred Jarry: A critical and biographical study. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984), 38, 186.
[3] "Rrose Selavy trouve qu'un incesticide doit coucher avec sa mere avant de la tuer; les punaises sont de rigueur." Marcel Duchamp, Salt Seller, Michel Sanouillet and Elmer Peterson, eds. (New York: Oxford Press, 1973), 105.
[4] Alfred Jarry, L'Amour Absolu (Absolute Love), written in 1899, trans. by Joachim Neugroshel for Lotus Magazine, 1976, 41.
[5] Ibid., 38. Emmanuel's father is a notary, by neat coincidence the same occupation as Duchamp's actual father. See Alice Goldfarb Marquis, Eros, c'est la vie (Troy, New York: Whetston Publishing Company, 1981), 6.
[6] Roger Shattuck, "What is Pataphysics," Evergreen Review Reader. A ten-year anthology (New York: Castle Books, Grove Press, Inc., 1967), 290.
[7] Jarry, 49.
[8] Quoted in Calvin Tomkins, Marcel Duchamp: A Biography (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1996), 73.
[9] 0ctavio Paz, Marcel Duchamp: Appearance Stripped Bare (New York: Viking, 1978), 186.
[10] Arturo Schwarz, The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp (New York: Abrams, 1970), 140.
[11] Tomkins, 73.
[12] Beaumont, 173.
[13] William Anastasi, "Jarry Joyce, Duchamp, and Cage," catalogue to the Venice Biennale, 1993.
[14] Duchamp, 24.
[15] In Alfred Jarry, The Supermale, first published in 1902, trans. by Ralph Gladstone and Barbara Wright (New York: New Directions, 1964), masses of full blown roses, "as fresh as if they had just been picked," suddenly, and magically, engulf the speeding railway car carrying the virgin Ellen Elson, full of desire, to her eagerly sought deflowering. She will, before this event, tell her lover-to-be that he must have been, in a previous life, "a very, very old courtesan." Duchamp will call his Rrose Selavy an old whore.
[16] Interview with George H. Hamilton and Richard Hamilton, BBC Broadcast, Art and Anti-art, London, 1959. Quoted in Schwarz, 80.
[17] The first version in French was, "Faut-il mettre la moelle de I'epee dans Ie poil de I'aimee?"
[18] Duchamp to his friend Lebel: "If I have practiced alchemy, it was in the only way it can be done now, that is to say without knowing it." Robert Lebel, Marcel Duchamp (New York, Grove Press, 1959).
[19] Jarry, in the text written for the premiere of Ubu Roi, published by the Revue la critique, 1896. Freud first equates money with excrement the following year, 1897. Freud's letter to Wilhelm Fleiss, December 22, 1897: "I can scarcely enumerate for you all the things that I-a modern Midas-turn into excrement." Sigmund Freud, Standard Edition, Volume I, 1897, (London: The Hogarth Press, 1966) 272.
[20] Jerrold Seigel, Bohemian Paris: Culture, Politics and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life 1830-1930 (New York: Viking. 1986).
[21] In Faustrall Jarry tells of "even layers of dust carefully preserved ... for many months." From Alfred Jarry. "Exploits and Opinions of Doctor Faustroll Pataphysician," Selected Works of Alfred Jarry, trans. by Roger Shattuck and edited by Roger Shattuck and Simon Watson Taylor (New York: Grove Press. 1965), 183. Duchamp. in a Green Box note for the Large Glass: "For the sieves in the glass-allow dust to fall on this part [for] 3 or 4 months." From Duchamp, 53.
[22] Jarry: "Why should anyone claim that the shape of a watch is round . .. since it appears in profile as a narrow rectangular construction. elliptic, on three sides?" Duchamp: "The clock seen in profile so that time disappears, but which accepts the idea of time other than linear time." Apropos of this, Keith Beaumont's biography of Jarry states, "The whole of Jarry's work ... can be seen as the expression of an attempt to 'deny' time, and to escape from its eternally revolving wheel."
[23] In The Supermale, 183, General Sider says to Marcueil (the supermale), "I often ... unscrewed ... urinals," and later, "What are you doing that's new? Have you stopped wrecking urinals?". Duchamp's urinal-as-art inevitably reminds us of Jarry's remark "Screw good taste." Jarry, from his adolescence on, was fascinated by the ways and means of sewage. The last two acts of his Ubu Cuckolded actually take place in a lavatory and the cesspool which relieves it of its daily burden. Alfred Jarry, The Ubu Plays, trans. by Cyril Connolly (New York: Grove Press, 1965), 97, 103.
[24] Jarry sometimes signed his paintings with the name of his famous alter ego Ubu, as Duchamp would later sign works Rrose Selavy.
[25] Duchamp, 56.
[26] The earliest of these was Etant Donnes Ie Gaz de'Eclairage et la Chute d'Eau, 1948-49-a figure with one lifted leg, whose upper torso seems half male, half female.
[27] The girl who is found "raped to death" in the woods surrounding Marcueil's estate, and Ellen Elson, the great love of Marcueil's life. William Anastasi, "Duchamp on the Jarry Road," Artforum, September 1991.
[28] Friedrich Teja Bach, Margit Rowell, Ann Temkin, Brancusi: 1876-1957 (Philadelphia Museum of Art and Cambridge and London: The MIT Press, 1995), 51.
[29] Jarry, "Visions of Past and Present," trans. by Simon Watson Taylor, in The Selected Works of Alfred Jarry, trans. by Roger Shattuck and edited by Roger Shattuck and Simon Watson Taylor (New York: Grove Press, 1965).
[30] Quoted by Jasper Johns in an appreciation published after Duchamp's death in Artforum, November 1968.
[31] Jarry, 110.
[32] From the Green Box Notes: "The machine with 5 hearts, the pure child of nickel and platinum, must dominate the Jura-Paris road." Duchamp, 26. Jarry's same Palotins, in Guignol, carry a nickel-plate pike on which to impale Ubu's adversaries.
[33] Recalling Duchamp's Gotham bookstore window display featuring a mannequin with a faucet protruding from the thigh, Lazy Hardware of 1945. Schwarz, 521.
[34] Duchamp's "first sketch" for Nine Malic Moulds (1913) is titled Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries. Illustrated in Schwarz, 440. From the Green Box notes: "Malique moulds. (Malic (?)) By Eros' matrix, we understand the group of 8 [sic] uniforms or hollow liveries." Duchamp, 51.
[35] Hoffmann's and de I'lsle·Adam's machine-women, far from being ready-mades, are meticulously custom-crafted and one of a kind.
[36] Green Box Notes: "the fork will penetrate into the basement through two holes." "The bachelor machine ... far from being in direct contact with the Bride. The desire motor is separated by the air cooler ... This cooler (graphically) to express the fact that the Bride, instead ofbeing merely an a-sensual icicle, warmly rejects (not chastely) the bachelors' brusque offer." Duchamp, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, a typographical version by Richard Hamilton of Duchamp's Green Box Notes. Trans. by George Heard Hamilton (New York: Wittenborn; London: Percy Lund, Humphries, 1969), unpaginated.
[37] Ibid.: "The Bride [has al motor with quite feeble cylinders." And, of "the glider" we're told, "It comes: By friction ..." and it "responds elastically."
[38] lbid.: "Kind of Sub-Title/ Delay in Glass" "the Bride does not refuse this stripping by the bachelors, even accepts it since she furnishes the love gasoline ... "
[39] Jarry, "Woman's Voting Cards," Le Revue Blanche, September 1901.
[40] In The Supermale, L 'Amour Absolu, and Messalina each heroine is described as a virgin, the first accurately, the second symbolically, the third ironically.
[41] Duchamp's famous remark about posterity "completing" the work of art is anticipated by Jarry's statement in The Supermale that "[art] works must wait for some additional beauty … which the future holds in store. Great works are not created great; they become so." Jean Clair present head of the Picasso Museum, Paris, recalled in a symposium (Duchamp: Colloque de Cerisy) cited in the Pleiade Oeuvres Completes of Jarry, that Duchamp "knew Jarry practically by heart." (Vol. II, 786). In the Cabanne interview, granted the year before Duchamp's death, we find: Duchamp: "You know, people have poor memories. " Cabanne: "Not you. You have a fantastic memory." Duchamp: "In general. memory of the remote past is quite exact." Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp, (New York: Viking Press, 1967).
[42] "Nous n'aurons point tout demol si nous ne demlissons meme les ruines! Or je n'y vois d'autre moyen." From the preface to Ubu Enchained.
[43] The Definitively Unfinished Marcel Duchamp, edited by Thierry de Duve (Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press, 1991), 169.
[44] For a clear-cut example, observe the unrelenting scorn heaped on Doctor Bathybius in The Supermale.
[45] Schwarz, 175.


BIBLIOGRAPHIES