Original Manuscript on Marcel Duchamp
Sometimes we tell each other Duchamp stories, which might surprise you since, you would reasonably point out, there is practically nothing about old Marcel that hasn’t been told, already, to death. Yet if God is in the details, the endlessly ironic touches in Duchamp´s narrative are also, even in their apparent irrelevance, the source of a strong exhilaration and brilliance.(1) ~Rosalind Krauss
Frederick Kiesler and Marcel Duchamp met in the mid-1920s in Paris and stayed in contact until the early 1950s when, for reasons still unknown, their friendship suddenly seems to have fallen apart. During those 25 years, Kiesler and Duchamp worked within the same vein, both occupied with predominant themes like perception and mechanisms of visions. They shared the same friends in Paris and frequented the same intellectual circle in New York. In 1937 Kiesler published his first article on Duchamp´s Large Glass(2) based on the extensive use of photomontage and on a free association of images. Five years later, Duchamp rented a room in Kiesler´s apartment for twelve months. Also in 1942, Kiesler designed the gallery Art of This Century for Peggy Guggenheim in which he installed a Vision Machine(3) to look at a series of reproductions from Duchamp´s Bôite en Valise.(4) During the 1940s Kiesler and Duchamp collaborated on several projects such as the cover of the 1943 VVV Almanac and the exhibition Imagery of Chess at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. In 1947 they worked together again in Paris at the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme for which Kiesler designed the Salle des Superstitions. A few months later, Kiesler executed a portrait in eight parts of Marcel Duchamp which can probably be considered the last collaboration between the two artists.(5) The Archive of the Frederick Kiesler Center in Vienna preserves a photocopy of some handwritten notes(6) by
Three books inspired the
decision of presenting this text in a typographical version: the Green
Box by George Heard Hamilton and Richard Hamilton; Á l´Infinitif
by Ecke Bonk, and last but not least Affectionately, Marcel by
Francis M. Naumann and Hector Obalk. We have tried to follow this tradition
in a sort of divertissement which helped us to approach the world
of the »Emeritus for Chronic Diseases of the Arts«, as Kiesler once
described Marcel Duchamp(10).
Anyone who has information on the original manuscript, please contact the Kiesler Center at: firstname.lastname@example.org
[The typeface used for Kiesler´s handwriting is Baskerville Old Face; for Lillian Kiesler´s it is Zapf Calligraphic and for the footnotes it is Times New Roman.]
1. R. Krauss,
The Optical Unconscious, London/Cambridge 1996, p.95.
8. »Kiesler schrieb mehrere undatierte Seiten über das Große Glass, auf die er auch einige interessante biographische Notizen kritzelte, Informationen über Duchamp, die er zweifellos schon in der Zeit vor der Veröffentlichung in View gesammelt hatte.« (»Kiesler wrote several undated pages on the subject of the Large Glass onto which he also scribbled some interesting biographical information on Duchamp, no doubt collected prior to the publication in View«) J .Gough-Cooper and J. Caumont, ibid. p.293.
9. Kiesler used a photomontage technique in combination with double exposure of the film in order to achieve, in a sort of ghostly effect, a vision of the Large Glass superimposed to a wall of Duchamp´s studio.
1, 3, 5-6