A Life in Pictures Revisited
by Jake Kennedy
A Life in Pictures
See Marcel. See Marcel pun. See Marcel's toys: Why Not Sneeze Rose Sélavy is Lego. The Box-in-a-Valise is a Matchbox dinky car suitcase. Given is a Barbie Stripped Bare By Her Kens, Even. I was hoping that Jennifer Gough-Cooper and Jacques Caumont's new kid-focused biography, Marcel Duchamp: A Life in Pictures, would really exploit the silly, outrageous possibilities of M.D.'s work. Just as the Box-in-a-Valise enchantingly opens, then unfolds and even slides into place, I was looking for a little bit of innovation here: pop-up features, scratch-n-sniff illustrations, interactive text, maybe even one or two pull-out posters. But this compact biography, the first English translation of the 1977 work La Vie illustrée de Marcel Duchamp, though indeed elegant and informative, seems more geared for the art world set than for the sandbox crowd. It makes Duchamp, and his work, appear quite adult-serious, even.
The idea of a Duchamp-bio for children is very cool and it may be just the infinitely amusing potential of such an idea that renders A Life in Pictures merely satisfactory. I imagine - if only for Raffray's intriguing pictures - that most Duchampions will want to check out this little volume but I can't see too many others, especially the juniors, squealing about either the text or the art. So for now, I suppose, it's back to the Playstations, the Furbys, and the Easy Bake ovens.
See Marcel. See him frown.