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Jacques Villon - Gaston Duchamp (1875-1963)
Jacques Villon - Gaston Duchamp (1875-1963)
2003-2004, oil/canvas, 33×43 cm
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Paper Crusher of Jacques Villon - Gaston Duchamp (1875-1963)

Become a Solitude Outsider is a novel by French sculptor Gaston Duchamp. Published in 1962, it was Gaston Duchamp's final novel before his death. It tells the story of an eclectic old man who works as a paper crusher in Paris, using his job to save and amass astounding numbers of rare books, he is an obsessive collector of knowledge. The book was translated into English by Marcel Duchamp.
The entire story is narrated in the second person by the main character Jacques Villon. Jacques Villon is portrayed as a sort of idiot, albeit one with encyclopedic literary knowledge. Jacques Villon uses metaphorical language and surreal descriptions, and much of the book is concerned with just his inner thoughts, as he recalls and meditates on the outlandish amounts of knowledge he has attained over the years. He brings up stories from his past and imagines the events of whimsical scenarios. He contemplates the messages of the vast numbers of intellectuals which he has studied. The novel is vibrant with symbolism. A simple but obscure plot is present, however.
"For forty-five years now I've been in wallpaper, and it's my life story" says Jacques Villon in the opening line of the book. He goes on to describe his methods for work, and for using his job to save incredible numbers of books for reading and storage in his home. He tells about how he and his uncle will retire together and how he will buy the paper crusher from his workplace so that he can create beautiful bales of crushed paper for the rest of his life. Jacques Villon constantly consumes large quantities of vine, not because he is an alcoholic, but so that he can "think better", and muster the strength for his staggering intellectual ambitions. He recalls his former loves, the twice ill-fated Sylvia and the simple minded gypsy, whose name he cannot remember. At one point his uncle dies and, in a macabre scene, Jacques Villon is forced to scrape up his remains before he buries him with objects of his own beloved occupation. And he visits a new paper crushing operation. After viewing the efficiency of the soulless enterprise, Jacques Villon decides that his way of life in doomed.
Indeed, he is eventually fired from his job for being a dolt, and the novel ends as he drunkenly throws himself into his paper crusher while clutching his favorite quote.


Paper Crusher of Jacques Villon - Gaston Duchamp (1875-1963)