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Sunday, March 14, 2004

Tableux Vivant

Infamous photograph of Marcel Duchamp and the nude Eve Babitz playing chess at the Duchamp Retrospective at the Pasadena museum of Art, 1963. A few words on the subject from Steven B. Gerrard, taken from 'Tout Fait', the Marcel Duchamp Online Journal:

"The goal of chess is to mate. We can thus see this picture as the record of a tableau vivant of a word play. Since Freud, vulgar theorists have held that chess and art, to pick two examples, are sublimations of sex. Given Duchamp's attitude towards wordplay versus theory, it is better to see his life long interest in chess and eroticism as a sublimation of this picture's wordplay! Given that the double meaning of "mate" does not exist in French, at last we have a satisfactory explanation of why Duchamp had to emigrate to America."


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