Hand Stereoscopy
Handmade Stereopticon Slide

Main Readymade
Original version, 1918-19
Original Version:

1918-19, Buenos Aires
The Museum of Modern Art
Katherine S. Dreier Bequest, 1953
pencil over photographic stereopticon slide
rectified readymade
each image 5.7 x 5.7 cm
in cardboard mount 6.8 x 17.2 cm

A stereopticon slide of a seascape with a pencil-drawn geometrical figure added to it, this Readymade is a truly experimental piece. Duchamp took an everyday item and put his mark on it, therefore imposing authorship upon an otherwise neutral object. The word "Original" is ironically inscribed in pencil on the reverse side of this Readymade. This may be seen as a reference to the complex ideas surrounding notions of value and replication. Unlike his small additions to other Readymades, which often consist of a mere signature, here Duchamp acts more like a traditional artist with his addition of geometric studies. These additions lend a sense of depth and three-dimensionality to the otherwise flat seascape images. This piece hence begins to shed light on Duchamp's interest in higher mathematics and the concept of n-dimensional or four-dimensional space.

Interestingly enough, Hand Stereoscopy has been virtually ignored by many scholars investigating the Readymades; it fails to appear in many analyses and often evades even a very brief mention. However, Schwarz identifies this artwork as an early Readymade. It clearly merits inclusion in this exhibition.

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