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To Show: apropos of Marcel Duchamp’s Étant donnés: 1° La chute d’eau, 2° Le gaz d’éclairage...

Pontén, Ann LU (2013)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in English

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) is an artist who has strongly influenced how art is currently understood. He aimed at broadening the concept of art and suggested that other things than paintings and sculptures could be defined as art. The thesis concerns Duchamp’s permanent installation Étant donnés: 1° La chute d’eau, 2° Le gaz d’éclairage (Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas). It was presented to the public posthumously and represents a naked woman lying outstretched in an artificial but realistic landscape. The woman holds an old-fashioned gas-lamp in one hand and a small waterfall glimmers in the background. The technique of the installation is similar to dioramas with stuffed animals... (More)
Popular Abstract in English

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) is an artist who has strongly influenced how art is currently understood. He aimed at broadening the concept of art and suggested that other things than paintings and sculptures could be defined as art. The thesis concerns Duchamp’s permanent installation Étant donnés: 1° La chute d’eau, 2° Le gaz d’éclairage (Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas). It was presented to the public posthumously and represents a naked woman lying outstretched in an artificial but realistic landscape. The woman holds an old-fashioned gas-lamp in one hand and a small waterfall glimmers in the background. The technique of the installation is similar to dioramas with stuffed animals in their natural environments, which traditionally can be seen in natural history museums, although the scenery created by Duchamp can only be seen through two small peepholes in an old wooden door. Duchamp not only explored the limits of art but also the concepts of science. Duchamp’s ideas have influenced the structure and content of this thesis and in some aspects it differs from how an academic thesis usually is presented. It consists of a number of booklets collected in an archive box. The booklets can be read in any desired order and thus not necessarily in the order in which they are listed. The booklets contain reports from readings of texts about Étant donnés, studies of details in Duchamp’s work, efforts to find a mathematical explanation of the geometric plan of the installation, quotes from literature functioning as comments on the Duchamp’s work, pictorial reflections, and suggestions of how bilingualism can be used as a creative instrument. Skin and nudity in art is touched upon and also the male artist’s attitude towards creating a work of art in the form of a woman. (Less)
Abstract
Aims: To study aspects of Marcel Duchamp’s posthumous permanent installation 'Étant donnés: 1° La chute d’eau, 2° Le gaz d’éclairage…' ('Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas...'). To investigate and show methods in the making as well as in the interpretation of Duchamp’s work. To perform and document minor actions as reflections on (and of) the study. To investigate relations between reading and writing texts on the one hand and making, showing, and reproducing artifacts on the other. To acknowledge the object of study not only as the thematic content of the research but to let it influence the methodology by which the study is made.

Methods: Associations by names and naming, parallel reading across two languages,... (More)
Aims: To study aspects of Marcel Duchamp’s posthumous permanent installation 'Étant donnés: 1° La chute d’eau, 2° Le gaz d’éclairage…' ('Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas...'). To investigate and show methods in the making as well as in the interpretation of Duchamp’s work. To perform and document minor actions as reflections on (and of) the study. To investigate relations between reading and writing texts on the one hand and making, showing, and reproducing artifacts on the other. To acknowledge the object of study not only as the thematic content of the research but to let it influence the methodology by which the study is made.

Methods: Associations by names and naming, parallel reading across two languages, exaggerated calculations, and attention to small and perhaps overlooked details were among the methods used. Studies of selected texts about 'Étant donnés' were done experimentally as comments mainly written while reading the text.

Results: An archive box containing a compilation of booklets with texts with pictures, pictures only, and pictures with texts. There are at least three or four details which may add to the understanding of Duchamp’s work: 1) a hidden geometry of the space framing the nude in 'Étant donnés' 2) a rebus in a sketch of a nude 3) the nude skin in a Pygmalionesque context 4) the momentary geometry of a rendezvous as well as a game...

Conclusions: In Duchamp’s art, specific methods can probably be seen as generative, but both the generative process for making art and the interpretative efforts are regarded as important. Studies of Duchamp’s work can contribute to the understanding of how to perform research by art. Here, an effort to experiment with a wider range of methods for how to study Duchamp’s work in an academic context is shown. For to allow a continuous interplay with an object of study, it is suggested that a multitude of more or less provisional methods and genres of results is valuable. The very term 'conclusion' is derived from Latin 'concludere' (to shut up, enclose) from the prefix 'com-' (or 'cum-') usually meaning 'with' and 'together' and 'cludere' 'to shut'. In this study, Duchamp's work 'Étant donnés' is treated as an endpoint–a closure–and a conclusive construction rather than inceptive and therefore as being related to the history of art and culture rather than contemporary art. It is also interpreted as an expansion of the material used in classic art. By the choice of material Duchamp might still be controversial by using a hide–real skin–for constructing a nude figure. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Bäcklund, Jan, Laboratory for Art and Cultural History, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Denmark
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
defense location
lecture hall B, Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Building A, Faculty of engineering, Sölvegatan 24, Lund
defense date
2013-05-27 13:00
ISBN
978-91-7740-104-9
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0b2f9167-7bab-48de-b720-7cef53b085bf (old id 3731946)
date added to LUP
2013-05-02 09:11:44
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:19
@phdthesis{0b2f9167-7bab-48de-b720-7cef53b085bf,
  abstract     = {Aims: To study aspects of Marcel Duchamp’s posthumous permanent installation 'Étant donnés: 1° La chute d’eau, 2° Le gaz d’éclairage…' ('Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas...'). To investigate and show methods in the making as well as in the interpretation of Duchamp’s work. To perform and document minor actions as reflections on (and of) the study. To investigate relations between reading and writing texts on the one hand and making, showing, and reproducing artifacts on the other. To acknowledge the object of study not only as the thematic content of the research but to let it influence the methodology by which the study is made.<br/><br>
Methods: Associations by names and naming, parallel reading across two languages, exaggerated calculations, and attention to small and perhaps overlooked details were among the methods used. Studies of selected texts about 'Étant donnés' were done experimentally as comments mainly written while reading the text. <br/><br>
Results: An archive box containing a compilation of booklets with texts with pictures, pictures only, and pictures with texts. There are at least three or four details which may add to the understanding of Duchamp’s work: 1) a hidden geometry of the space framing the nude in 'Étant donnés' 2) a rebus in a sketch of a nude 3) the nude skin in a Pygmalionesque context 4) the momentary geometry of a rendezvous as well as a game...<br/><br>
Conclusions: In Duchamp’s art, specific methods can probably be seen as generative, but both the generative process for making art and the interpretative efforts are regarded as important. Studies of Duchamp’s work can contribute to the understanding of how to perform research by art. Here, an effort to experiment with a wider range of methods for how to study Duchamp’s work in an academic context is shown. For to allow a continuous interplay with an object of study, it is suggested that a multitude of more or less provisional methods and genres of results is valuable. The very term 'conclusion' is derived from Latin 'concludere' (to shut up, enclose) from the prefix 'com-' (or 'cum-') usually meaning 'with' and 'together' and 'cludere' 'to shut'. In this study, Duchamp's work 'Étant donnés' is treated as an endpoint–a closure–and a conclusive construction rather than inceptive and therefore as being related to the history of art and culture rather than contemporary art. It is also interpreted as an expansion of the material used in classic art. By the choice of material Duchamp might still be controversial by using a hide–real skin–for constructing a nude figure.},
  author       = {Pontén, Ann},
  isbn         = {978-91-7740-104-9},
  language     = {eng},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {To Show: apropos of Marcel Duchamp’s Étant donnés: 1° La chute d’eau, 2° Le gaz d’éclairage...},
  year         = {2013},
}