Voisins du Zero:
Hermaphroditism and Velocity

robertrobert, 2003/04/01, 2019/05/22

In a known Spanish medical journal called MD used linking art with various anomalies items appear: increased Greco figures was due to a distortion caused by strabismus; black paintings of Goya, a progressive white lead poisoning; the flaming colors of Van Gogh, a particular case of schizophrenia. Perhaps for this, and other reasons, then finished associating Duchamp (MD) with a picturesque uncle, MD, who was reached these magazines in the 60s that managed connection staging one of my dreams where Duchamp appeared camouflaged with the guy in question as if it were a member of the family.

The dream is a family reunion in the middle of a room whose atmosphere, what he could be seen through a French window, could correspond to Paris or Buenos Aires. In a black and white film, the effect of lights and shadows contrasted reproduced a male environment saturated among Bogart and characteristic of the early films of detectives Gardel. What happened, simply, was to be all there wordlessly cut in backlight on the brightness of the window as a river there grew down torrents carrying debris along the street. Soon, an effect of acetate to be burned up, the image took on a reddish gradually dissolving in the face of Marcel who finished with dyed hair of a rusty red, including red lead and brick, as one of its ” single “or, why not, as a cosmopolitan Adam in two-piece suit about to catch fire.
1 The reference to a distinctly masculine universe also recalls the type of props found in stores items for men: cigars, pipes, playing cards, dice, liquor, gaming tables lined in green cloth, roulette, cards, chess boards. .. Some elements widely used in cubist imagery-along with instruments and scores MUSICAL recurrent and enigmatic way.

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Monte Carlo Bond
Figure 1
Duchamp, Monte
Carlo Bond
, 1924.

Apart from chess, obsessive presence in the life of Duchamp, his only work related to these games, more specifically with roulette, is what is known as the Monte Carlo Bond (Fig. 1), dated November 1, 1924 the following year to leave “definitively unfinished” the Large Glass (1915-1923) work, his greatest work. Year also marks his legendary and supposed retirement from art to the most rarefied and abstract chess regions.

The Monte Carlo Bond or Obligation for Monte Carlo Roulette is defined as a “grinding and imitated readymade”, a lithograph that represents an actual document, a bond issued in 30 numbered copies with a value of 500 francs each. Bonds, commercial obligations to cancel a certain sum in a defined and with an interest date, were redesigned and issued by Duchamp in order to raise money to experience a mathematical system in the game of Trente-et-Quarante; martingale (1) that would allow it to gain “slowly but surely” in order to “break the bank at Monte Carlo” forcing roulette, a game of chance, to behave like a chess.

About lithography, glued directly onto the circular radiant figure of a roulette wheel, we see an interesting photograph of Duchamp with his hair and face covered with foam. At the bottom of the document on the diagram on the roulette table, two firms: under the black diamond, as Chairman of the Board of Directors, Rrose Sélavy (female alter ego of Duchamp); under the red diamond, as a simple administrator the same Marcel. Printed on the merits, repeated 150 times in green ink, a pun whimsical vintage Rrose Sélavy: moustiques domestiques demistock (domestic mosquitoes semi-stock).

But let us first see how some authors describe the picture:

David Joselit, “a lithograph that includes a portrait of Duchamp by Man Ray transformed through shaving cream in a chimerical figure maybe like a faun or a demon (…) Marcel, as Rrose, transvestite in a hyper- male demon or faun. ” (2)

Dalia Judovitz, “a self-portrait of his head covered with shaving cream with her ​​hair pulled up like horns, further destabilizing the authority of this financial document.”


Calvin Tomkins: “A photograph of the head of Duchamp by Man Ray’s face covered with shaving cream and hair soaped as two devilish horns.”


Peter Read: “A colored lithograph representing the surface of a roulette table with a photograph of Duchamp’s head covered with shaving cream, and hair stretched like the horns of a faun or a devil, stuck to a roulette wheel which forms a circle, certainly like halo in the eyes of Henri-Pierre Roché Duchamp always he wore. Cortada (decapitated) of a larger photograph taken by Man Ray, Duchamp’s head resembles that of John the Baptist presented on a tray with their horns erect ready to be shaved foam; the male, at the same time, a victim of Salomé and Dalila -a powerful recurrence to torn symbolism. ”


Juan Antonio Ramirez. “The most striking visual element of printed bonds Duchamp is his own image, resembling a faun (executed with shaving cream) on the merits of a roulette wheel a way to add a human story to a mechanism, a way to add sexuality, here again the satyr-bachelor trapped in his masturbatory circularity, seeks to obtain the expected returns after each of the ‘manipulation’ of the croupier [A. Schwarz, quoting Freud: “the passion for game is equivalent to the ancient compulsion to masturbate. ‘] But perhaps there is something more, an allegory of the artist and rewards for their lucky chance. ”


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Figura 2
Giambologna, Mercury, 1576.
advertising Notice
Figura 3
advertising Notice
Ad from Patek Philippe
Figura 4
ad from Patek Philippe

In these and other descriptions the general consensus assumed that Duchamp soapy head resembles that of a faun or a diabolical figure. But look more closely, the foam forms modeled on the head does not really correspond to traditional horns of either; its form, however, powerfully evokes one of the main attributes of the messenger god of classical antiquity, Mercury (Fig. 2). Aerodynamically curved back, these forms match the shape of the winged helmet known as petasus, as can be seen in the bronze of Giambologna sixteenth century, rather than erect, relatively short horns that usually characterize demons and fauns.

Is not it funny that the various readings Duchamp’s face repeatedly interpreted as being necessarily provided with horns? Attribute that apart from the ‘evil’ artistic and financial operation reminiscent Cheque Tzanck 1919

(7) , would perhaps suggested by some mythological pollution caused by the simultaneous presence of beard, as thus easily refer to lewd images through the history of art. The horns, in short, would come from the beard.


Iconography, the Roman god Mercury -or Hermes as he was known in Greece Antigua- is relevant with respect to the financial document issued by Duchamp. Known for his cunning, resourcefulness and quick efficacy, Mercury was the Roman god of merchants, travelers and shepherds, as well as the patron of artists, thieves, deceivers and all kinds of dishonest people.

(9) Derived from the Latin root for goods, to mercibus, the name of Mercury is contained in the term ‘commercial’. In addition to its winged helmet, Mercury was equipped with sandals also with wings called talaria, a caduceus or wand with coiled snakes and a bag as a symbol of their commercial powers.

(10) strongly associated attributes, one way or another, the conduct Duchamp summarized in the same anagram: Marchand du sel, the salt merchant. It accentuated from this time (1924), when he and his renewed passion for chess undertook a series of business and artistic and financial speculation behavior. Attitude that could be illustrated with the commercial emblem of the Flying Wheel (Fig. 3); a wheel with wings, identical in essence to the collage on the roulette. popular short, if you will, a good part of the iconography Duchamp.

Therefore, the image of Duchamp not only preserves an iconographic affinity for the ancient god but also conceptually related to the activities surrounding the Obligation to Monte Carlo. Moreover, its endowment can be read at a level deep personal implications (as discussed in this paper) as we see in this show is a Mercury or Hermes bearded, drawn as it appears in some Greek vases. An unusual Mercury since the history of later art shows usually beardless, almost feminine.

(11) Ambiguity underlined by the fact that beards are of shaving cream (as a teenager in the mirror conjuring fantasies of virility) (Fig. 4) simultaneously indicating the absence of beard after shaving and the emergence of a fake beard instead of a real one.

Experiments and hair obsessions Duchamp and the consequent psychological negotiations between various identities begin casually in 1919 in Buenos Aires, when done shave her head as part of a treatment to prevent hair loss. Which gives it a rather marginal aspect in the broad sense of the word, either as begun in some sect -¿el chess?

(12) – as convalescent His friends find him excessively thin- or simply delinquent ( 13) .
Also, on his return to Paris in mid-1919, in a gesture that clearly anticipates the creation of its female pseudonym Rrose Sélavy, makes the readymade known of the Mona Lisa (LHOOQ) adding a mustache and a goatee Mephistopheles. While in 1921, after the aromatic transgender deployments Rrose Sélavy posing as Belle Haleine, Eau de Voilette on the altered label of a bottle of perfume funeral Rigaud

(14) (Fig. 5), is made ​​on the skull shaved tonsure shaped kite tail projected forward. (Fig. 6)

Three years later, immediately after the Monte Carlo autoretrato -in Ciné Sketch, a theatrical amusement of René Clair Picabia and Duchamp reappears making Adam in a tableau from a painting by Cranach, (Fig. 7) wearing, significantly counterpart to the ambiguous beard of foam, an obvious fake beard, clock and shaved pubis. Certainly not the last ‘shaved’ in his work.

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  •  Rrose Sélavy
    Figura 5
    Figure 5 Rrose Sélavy, 1921. Photo Man Ray
  • Marcel Duchamp
    Figura 6
    Marcel Duchamp, 1921.
  •  Marcel Duchamp and Bronja Perlmutter
    Figura 7
    Adam and Eve. Marcel Duchamp and Bronja Perlmutter. Paris, 1924.


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Instead of devilish horns, which leans somewhat toward nature interpretations of monetary operation, the styling suggests a different interpretation wings especially if we consider that the hermetic Mercury appears with his hair and beard covered foam. evanescent material any activity index, the foam is composed of bubbles produced by an insistent air whipping motion incorporating a liquid provided a certain density (here soap). Charged substance multiple sexual and poetic evocations. As revealed in its etymology as foam, in Greek, is Aphros, whence Aphrodite (or Venus) goddess born of the “sea foam”. (15) What provides us an important key to decrypt the identity (16) of the unusual portrait from the following equation:. Hermes + Aphrodite = Hermaphrodite (17)

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Ruleta europea
Figura 8
Ruleta europea
European Roulette
Figura 9
European Roulette 1935
Dürer, Adam and Eve
Figura 10
Dürer, Adam and Eve, 1504
Limbourg Brothers, Temptation and Fall
Figura 11
Limbourg Brothers, Temptation and Fall, before 1414
Detail and roulette with green zero
Figura 12
Oculist Witnesses, detail
(the right eye center) and
roulette with green zero

This androgynous mix would become then the mythical ‘correction’ obtained by the conjunction between the mercurial communication skills exemplified by the movement of the wheel (Fig. 8) and perfection of potential success in the figure of the bet

(18) indirectly represented the attributes of Venus (love, beauty and sexual passion), two human entities in conflict: Rrose Sélavy, signing the widow that appears under the black diamond

(19) , and Marcel Duchamp, the inveterate bachelor who signed simply as “Administrator” under the ancestral red

(20) . the structure of this obligation clearly shows the duplicity involved in the names and colors that correspond to each of diamonds, as well as the eventual convergence of the central figure of the hermaphrodite as the third element. At each turn of the wheel, red and black perish, speed, merging their specific identity as – in terms of Duchamp – we might call a gray verticalité: “… as all axes disappear gray verticality, front and back, back and front adopt a circular significance … ”


Similarly, roulette not only continues in another form, in another topological level, inter-dimensional speculation attributed to his Bicycle Wheel, 1913

(22) and perceptual testing of optical devices related to the Oculist Witnesses in the lower region large Glass, but it incorporates the indeterminacy of feature random roulette game as a necessary element. Thus downplays the narcissistic duality in the history of glass with a third element: the androgynous. Option to incomplete couple a fresh widow (Fresh Widow) and an indomitable singles.

Referring to the general principle of illusory effect of its rotating spirals, Duchamp wrote: “I just have to use two -excéntricas- circles and make them rotate on a third center.” (Fig. 9)

To display the symbolic effect of this curious fade, just imagine a point offset frontal view of an archetypal image, say the woodcut of Adam and Eve (Fig. 10) Durer. If we stand up rather than face her as one observes the scene as the crow flies, roulette perspective, we realize that the vertical axis, the natural hinge represented by the tree, just as Adam and Eve (Marcel / Rrose , red / black) have been transformed into three points on a plane aligned. Now, if we imagine Paradise circulate as in some ancient representations (Fig. 11) and we quickly turn our first parents (re-Peres: references) around the center point, there will be a time when traditional position, Adam left Eva right disappears. We can not call something left and right because they are the same as in Innumerable Diligence Pawlowski

(23) – in all places at once. The difference, the duration of the ubiquity of the instantaneous velocity has been, as it were, reconciled. Speed ​​and movement, strategic factors of the first order in situations of emergency psychological along Duchamp’s life

(24) .

His obsession with the synthesis of opposites

(25) is also evident in the assembly of the head relative to the circle of the wheel, in the background, a matter of perspective, is nothing but a target or target. (Fig . 12) the coincidence of the right eye with the center of the wheel ( “Physically – the eye is the sense of perspective”

(26) ), overrides, in principle, the distance between the observer and objective, between the self and the world, since structurally system perspective is mutual identity between the viewpoint and the vanishing point. By overlaying the right eye with the center of the wheel, Duchamp calls not only their intention to succeed in the prediction consisting bet, but promptly illustrates the unitary principle of conciliation

(27) .

Jarry, referring to the unusual language Bosse-de-Nage his character in opinions and Feats of Doctor Faustroll only said “HA HA” refers to the formula of the principle of identity: “A Thing Itself is.” “World fast enough, until the letters are confused, they are the idea of ​​unity” and “pronounced slowly, are the idea of ​​duality, of echo, of distance, of symmetry, size and duration, of the two principles of good and evil. ”


On the other hand, the difference, say relational, between the Large Glass and Bono of Monte Carlo, would be in the first separation is external (singles dating) while the second is internal (incorporating Rrose Sélavy by ‘infusion’ hermaphrodite) projecting the target, the target on himself.

Hence the strategy soapy likeness, photograph identifying the Monte Carlo Bond, join the precise play of identities offered as a way to escape, or renewed compensation, an artist clearly overwhelmed by their intense immersion along of the last eight years in the complexities and contradictions of the drama that is the Large Glass: up Bride

(29) , single bottom, and the difficulty of arranging these two dimensions from one of the latest gadgets in the process, the the Oculist Witnesses. Optical device whose purpose is simply to help overcome the threshold of a virtually insurmountable horizon between Bride and Singles, as suspends the act of consummation (30) . Duchamp something left at that point “definitely unfinished” The Large Glass; as indicated in the final adverb full name of its central work, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even.

Literally, then, the Monte Carlo Bond would be the bond, the ‘bond’ between opposing atavistic entities represented by the traditional colors of roulette. Exemplary fragmented duality in 37 numbers scattered in the oracular vertigo roulette (31) canceling out optically, for “indifference” abysmal separation into an instant androgynous paradise.

By the fifties, speaking of the relationship between chess and roulette, Duchamp tells Arturo Schwarz both games involve “a struggle between two human beings,” which attempts to reconcile “making the wheel a more cerebral game of chess more a game of chance. ” And in 1968, the last year of his life, in a conversation with Lanier Graham, points out: “The universal symbol is the androgynous is above philosophy If one has become the androgynous philosophy is no longer necessary…” (32)

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But behind the swift wings and weightless foam it is always the sea. A sea indicated in several places: 1. The same town of Monte Carlo, 2. the nature of shaving foam transformed into Aphros, “meerschaum” and 3. hidden in the insistent twister moustiques domestiques repeated demi-stock 150 times in green ink (33) as a slogan of ‘security’ on the substance of the obligation. Phrase almost identical to livrons Nous à domicile / moustiques des domestiques / [demi-stock] (34) . Which appears full, three years later, in one of the disks used for Anemic Cinema (35) : ON SUE DES moustiques domestiques [DEMI-STOCK] POUR LA CURE D’WHIP SUR LA COTE D’AZUR.

That “cure d’scourge sur la Côte d’Azur”, added later, we are found also hidden in the back of the obligation in one of the articles:

Art. 1st. -The Société pour object to: 1 L’explotation of roulette Monte-Carlo dans les conditions ci-après. 2nd L’explotation du Trente et Quarante et autres mines of southern Côte d’Azur délibération du Conseil d’Administration. (36)

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Anemic Cinema disc
Figure 13
Duchamp. Anemic Cinema disc, 1927.

Anemic Cinema disc (Fig. 13) would become a verbal collage between the slogan printed on the bottom of Bono and the Côte d’Azur named in the statutes, phonetically transformed the Cure d ‘ scourge (usually translated as “cure nitrogen”) introduced in this word game Azoth term whose meaning goes beyond the simple summery, Mediterranean oxygenation.

Reference necessarily leads to alchemy (metaphorical background, along with modern science and psychology, abundant in Duchamp’s exegesis) where we talk about three basic symbolic substances: mercury, sulfur and salt; which are complemented by a fourth, the mysterious vital principle called Azoth. This “secret fire” or primus agens, “some see it as electricity and magnetism other transcendentalists refer to it as the astral light..” Isaac Myer calls “the primordial air”, “Waters or Crystalline Chaotic Sea” (37). Mysterious ingredient whose main virtue is to keep all physical matter represented in these three substances together. And it is this unifying under which has led some to identify with the “unconditional love”. Kind of generic glue whose powerful and subtle nature remains outside any scrutiny.

There are some documents suggest that by the time of the Obligation to Monte Carlo Duchamp was going through a particularly critical time. And although his reserved nature conceal strategically, as always, details, towards the end of his life, in the sixties, writes: “. Since 1923 I consider myself as an artist ‘defrocked'” (38) “Hence, after 1923, according to Jean Clair came a time of disillusionment and apathy. défroqué Duchamp. Duchamp unoccupied. Duchamp the chess player.” (39)

Katherine Dreier, one of his patrons, maternally considered the psychological atmosphere of a casino was harmful “to such sensitive Marcel person.” And Breton: ” ‘How is it possible that such an intelligent, the most original of century Breton man after man can devote their time and energy to such trivialities?’ Seeking an explanation, Breton could only conclude that it was due to some hidden’m upset that he had described as Jacques Doucet ‘desperate’ state of mind of Duchamp “.(40) However, in the spring of 1924, before his experiment in Monte Carlo, Duchamp writes to the same Doucet having been a month in the Riviera during a chess tournament: “the climate suits me perfectly, I’d love to live here.”(41)

Therapy? ¿ ‘Oxygen’ in Monte Carlo? Perhaps the encapsulated air in the foam is of the same nature as the Air de Paris; his readymade early 1920. Originally a glass ampoule filled with saline that Marcel makes emptying in a Paris pharmacy then sealing it to offer it as a gift to the Arensberg on his return to New York, translating 50cc air in Paris ” psychological serum “. All this, the same year that ‘born’ Rrose Sélavy.

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Rrose Sélavy, Belle Haleine, Eau de Voilette
Figura 14
Rrose Sélavy,
Belle Haleine, Eau
de Voilette, 1921.
Cellini, Perseoy and Medusa
Figura 15
Cellini, Perseoy and Medusa, 1545-54

After his first manifestation to wield the copyright of Fresh Widow (French Window), a convicted French window visibility for covered glass shiny black leather, Rrose Sélavy comes in on the image name and label Un Air embalmed (Fig. 14) originally a perfume Rigaud – renaming as Belle Haleine, Eau de Voilette. Another psychological serum, if you will, if somewhat grim, judging by the case: a small coffin in which the image of the rigorous and concentrated transvestite slides.

problematic identity portends, triumphant advance, foaming portrait of Monte Carlo and allows us to assume what is in the background is “exploitation of thirty and forty other mines in the French Riviera under deliberation by the Board of Directors”. That is, under deliberation of its only two members. What Duchamp called on other occasions “a little game between Je et Moi”.

And speaking of dualities, the mercurial portrait, like any medal, must have another side. The mirror image, in my way of truth is not beautiful and radiant severed head of John the Baptist or the drugged Holofernes, as some suggest, but which rests appalled by her own reflection on the shield of Perseus: The Medusa, “power of the night and death” that petrifies anyone who looks at her. A real evil eye; an evil ‘Voilette’.

Why the Medusa? By Perseus: “Mercurial, air, Perseus is unique in being able to conjure the seriousness of things, the opacity of chaos, numbness heavy Saturn world … where the spirit, too earthbound, looks at the horror of petrification. ” (42) for Perseus, like Mercury, carries on his helmet and ankles the same fast and ethereal wings .(43) And also, because the axis of the tree snake curls like a Caduceus, symbol of medicine [MD] and transforming power. Indispensable attribute of Mercury where the two opposite animals, bird and snake, determine the direction and the polarity of the process: the snake as material energy associated with the upward spiral and the bird as spiritually liberated. Didactically relationship illustrated at the right time Perseus, his head covered with winged helmet, displaying the severed head of Medusa holding symmetrical espéjicamente, their tangled hair of snakes. (44) (Fig.15)

It is therefore not too bold to assume that the back of the circular autoretrato Monte Carlo – a corresponding negative image – is the actual image of the Medusa by Caravaggio painted on a royal coat of arms in the late sixteenth .(45) Painting for which, they say, used his own face in a mirror gesticulating fearfully. Allowing us to propose, at this point, the next iconographic relationship: (Figs 16, 17 & 18.)

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  • Caravaggio, Medusa
    Figura 16
    Caravaggio, Medusa, c.1597
  • Mercury, sulfur and salt
    Figura 17
    the Azoth. Union of
    3 elements: mercury, sulfur
    and salt
  • Air de Paris
    Figura 18
    Marcel Duchamp, Air de Paris, 1920

In this sequence, the ‘petrification’, detention or apathy resented by Duchamp in the period following the Large Glass would need a certain stream of air (courant d’air) to redeem its powers emotionally as ‘breathing’: “I like living , breathing, but to work (…) if you want, my art would be to live, every second, every breath is a work that does not fall within any place, which is neither visual nor cerebral sort of. constant euphoria. “(46) in this particular circumstance, the nature and the secret of constant euphoric element could not be found in the usual ‘nutrition’ culture, that is, in its re-entry to the artistic and social activity, but in the timeless properties of an essential symbolic setting: the sea, and chance. The crystalline waters chaotic-indeed a scourge cure d’sur la Côte d’Azur. Instead of immersion baptism where women added (Aphrodite / Rrose) establish its complicity mythical natural. Element to which reason and logic all their hard intentionality is forced to negotiate between the respective domains metaphorical male and combative chess and whimsical uncertainty of chance in roulette.

Serum, glass bubble with its ethereal air will not come to Paris then be nothing but a ‘azoth’ necessary, a sensible order embodied freely in the alter-ego named pink, flower power imbued with eros . Hence we can graphically imagine how stifling Caravaggio Medusa incorporates glowing under azoth as totalizing potion. A result which can be fully appreciated in the ‘cameo’ of Monte Carlo with the foaming head embedded in the solar aura of roulette.

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Birth of Venus with Hermes
Figura 19
Birth of Venus
with Hermes / Mercury
(a caduceus) and Poseidon.

The obligation of a possible ?, a new birth of Moi Je and unified as pearl in its shell from Chaotic ‘gambling’ Sea of Monte Carlo. In any case, a secret martingale, unconscious, throwing your bet on delinquent target of a self-regenerating imperative. Curious game system in which Duchamp, however, “never win or lose” (47) , natural condescension that central point, indifferent, the “et-qui-free” (48) hermaphrodite.

Moreover, the synthetic figure of Bond, the underlying instrument throughout the therapeutic process, none other than the Caduceus (MD!) (Fig. 19) winged staff with two snakes twisted symmetrically. Associated object – via Tiresias – with male / female sexual alternation and the oracular gift of prophecy. His story, as we shall see, it is appropriate to speak:
Known prophet of Thebes, say Tiresias in his youth found a pair of copulating snakes, and being beaten with a stick trying to separate suddenly found himself transformed into a woman. Seven years later he again found two snakes at the same regaining its original sex to beat them again. While a woman, Tiresias was married, hence version of some ancient poets, Jupiter and Juno decide to resolve their dispute over which of the sexes gained the most pleasure, consulting Tiresias, who said the woman pleasure was ten times greater than man. Juno, who argued otherwise resolved punish Tiresias depriving of sight while Jupiter in benevolent compensation, granted the gift of prophecy as well as live seven times more than the rest of men. (49)

Vedi Tiresia Muto sembiante Quando di che maschio femmina divienne, Cangiandosi quante tutte le membra;E premium, poi, ribatter li convenne Il due serpenti avvolti with cock, Che riavesse will maschili penne. “(Dante, The Divine Comedy . Inferno, Canto 20:40)


More recently, in 1944, Poulenc musically adapted the piece Apollinaire Les Mamelles de Tiresias (The Breasts of Tiresias) written in 1903. Both versions deviate significantly from the original and burlesque transposing in domestic terms hermaphrodite alternating blinded seer . Namely, the problem of a decline in the birth rate of the French people thanks to feminist emancipation of Thérèse / Tirésias, lack compensated by her husband who gave birth to 40,000 children in one day … Anyway, Poulenc decided to transpose the action Apollinaire part of Zanzibar, an island on the east coast of Africa, Zanzibar, assumed population on the French Riviera somewhere between Nice and Monte Carlo. Especially since Monte Carlo and loved because “it was there that Apollinaire spent the first 15 years of his life,” adding it was a place “sufficiently tropical for a Parisian like me.” (50)

Finally, Duchamp failed to become addicted roulette game plunging instead for the rest of their days in the maze sophisticated infra-light of the strategic possibilities of chess. With regard to Monte Carlo, saying summarizes his adventure. “The artists throughout history are like players in Monte Carlo, in the blind lottery some are chosen while others end ruined … everything happens according randomly Artists who manage to get noticed during his life are excellent salesmen which in no way guarantees the immortality of his work. ” In fact, posterity is a terrible whore who cheats on some while others refunded, reserving the right to change my mind every 50 years. ”

But perhaps the key to transcending historically no longer limited to mere chance has to do with what the commercial slogan of a website: “with Caduceus you are not a number, you’re a guy!”. (51) In other words, one has to pronounce Zanzibar! Zanzibar! Fast enough, “until the letters end up confused.”


Footnote Return 1. “La Martingala es un sistema muy simple y antiguo para recuperar pérdidas incrementando progresivamente las apuestas. Se basa en la probabilidad de perder infinidad de veces de seguido y se aplica usualmente a apuestas de igual cantidad.” <http://ildado.com/roulette_rules.html>

Footnote Return 2. David Joselit, Infinite Regress: Marcel Duchamp, 1910-1941. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1998.

Footnote Return 3. Dalia Judovitz, Unpacking Duchamp: art in transit. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Footnote Return 4. Calvin Tomkins, Duchamp: a biography. New York: H. Holt, 1996.

Footnote Return 5. Peter Read, “The Tzank Check and Related Works by Marcel Duchamp”, Marcel Duchamp Artist of the Century, edited by Rudolph Kuenzli and Francis M. Naumann. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1989.

Footnote Return 6. Juan Antonio Ramírez, Duchamp, Love and Death, Even. London: Reaktion Books Ltd, 1993.

Footnote Return 7. Cheque elaborado en su totalidad por Duchamp imitando un cheque real girado sobre The Teeth’s Loan & Trust Company, Consolidated, un banco inventado, con el cual pagó a su dentista Daniel Tzanck la suma de $115 dólares.

Footnote Return 8. La atribución de cuernos a un autoretrato de Duchamp deja suponer una improbable dimensión dionisíaca derivada, tal vez, del juego de palabras involucrado en su seudónimo Rrose Sélavy (Eros, c’est la vie), dado que el erotismo que impregna su obra es más elaborado y mental que vitalista, como sucedería con Picasso cuya capacidad creativa se identifica fácilmente con la figura del minotauro o el sátiro.

Footnote Return 9. Para “todo sobre Mercurio” ver: http://www.hermograph.com/science/mercury.htm Consultar el vínculo acerca del dios Mercurio para su historia, simbolismo y leyendas; en particular su “Work History”. Para sus actividades como ladrón, ver la entrada Mercurius, en John Lemprière, Classical Dictionary. (1788) London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984, p. 373-374.

Footnote Return 10. Para antiguas representaciones de Mercurio con sus diversos atributos ver Gregory R. Crane (ed.) The Perseus Project, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu August, 2002. Referencias a Mercurio en Greek and Roman Materials: 109. Boston 98.1135 en donde puede verse en una moneda de plata exhibiendo su petasus alado y sucaduceo; 122. Boston 98.676 donde aparece Mercurio con su bolsa.

Footnote Return 11. Para imágenes de Mercurio con barbas, ver Gregory R. Crane (ed.) The Perseus Project (lugar citado). Referencias a Hermes en Greek and Roman Materials: 28. Louvre G192; 68. Toledo 1956.70.http://www.perseus.tufts.edu

Footnote Return 12. Desde Buenos Aires escribe a Walter Arensberg: “Juego ajedrez todo el tiempo. Me he inscrito a un club local en el que hay muy buenos jugadores agrupados de acuerdo a su rango. Todavía no he sido honrado con un grado. (…) Juego día y noche y nada en el mundo me interesa más que encontrar la jugada correcta… Cada vez estoy menos interesado en pintura. Todo a mi alrededor adopta la forma del Rey o la Reina y el mundo exterior sólo me interesa en cuanto se traduce en posiciones de ganancia o pérdida.”

Footnote Return 13. En 1923, en Wanted, obra inmediatamente anterior a las Obligaciones de Monte Carlo, se personifica como tal en un afiche de recompensa.

Footnote Return 14. Originalmente, Un Air Embaumé. Un bálsamo, un perfume; un aire ‘embalsamado’, también.

Footnote Return 15. Según Hesíodo, Afrodita nació cuando Urano (padre de los dioses) fue castrado por Cronos, su hijo. En su caída al océano los genitales produjeron espuma. De aphros, la “espuma de mar”, surgió entonces Afrodita, siendo luego arrastrada por el mar hasta la isla de Chipre o Cythera, la paradisíaca isla de la conocida pintura de Watteau.

Footnote Return 16. Esta interpretación, más que un intento de recuperación del sentido (consciente o inconsciente) en el autor, es un acto de reconstrucción en el intérprete; una proyección de analogías sobre un juego propuesto en donde “el público, el intérprete, hace la obra”.

Footnote Return 17. No en cuanto hijo de Hermes y Afrodita (como aparece registrado mitológicamente, siendo originalmente un hombre que luego se transforma en hermafrodita al fundirse en mágico abrazo con la ninfa Salmacis), sino como la mezcla simbólica de ambos. Para la historia de Hermaphroditus, ver Lamprière, p.227.

Footnote Return 18. Duchamp a Picabia, en carta de 1924: “Es más, el problema consiste en encontrar la figura negra y roja para oponerle a la ruleta (…) Y yo creo haber encontrado una buena figura. Como ves, no he dejado de ser pintor, ahora dibujo sobre el azar.” DDS p. 269.

Footnote Return 19. Tal y como apareció por primera vez en 1920, detentando el copyright de Fresh Widow: una ventana francesa pintada de verde ‘mentolado’ cuyos vidrios han sido suplantados por cuero negro, los que debían brillarse cotidianamente ‘como si fueran zapatos’, según instrucciones de Duchamp.

Footnote Return 20. “Adán: ser rojo. Algunos escritores (…) asignan a la palabra adam la doble significación de ‘tierra roja’, agregándole a la noción del orígen material del hombre una connotación del color de la tierra de la cual fue formado.” www.newadvent.org/cathen/01129a.htm

Footnote Return 21. “…à mesure que tous les axes disparaissent en gris de verticalité la face et le dos, le revers et l’avers prennent une signification circulaire. “Comparación Algebraica (de la Caja Verde de 1914). DDS, pg. 45. Tercera nota perteneciente al Prefacio y a la Advertencia, notas seminales en los escritos de Duchamp.

Footnote Return 22. En, Ulf Linde. Cycle, La roue de bicyclette. Marcel Duchamp, Abécédaire. Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, 1977.
Y también, inscribiéndose en la secuencia de su cronología giratoria: Molino de Café, Molino de Chocolate, Hélice (la declaración a Léger y a Brancusi a finales de 1912 en el 4º Salón de la Locomoción Aérea: ‘La pintura se acabó. Quién lo haría mejor que esta hélice?’), Rueda de Bicicleta, Rotative Plaque Verre, Discos con Espirales, ruleta de la Obligación de Monte Carlo, Puerta doble del 11 de la rue Larrey (resumida de algún modo en la puerta de la GaleríaGradiva de 1937), Roto-relieves, etc.

Footnote Return 23. Capitulo del Viaje al País de la Cuarta Dimensión, novela científica de Gastón de Pawlowski publicada por primera vez en 1910, la cual, según declaraciones de Duchamp, tuvo mucho que ver con ciertas nociones especulativas aplicadas sobre todo al Gran Vidrio. El libro de Jean Clair, Marcel Duchamp ou le Grand Fictif. Paris: Editions Galilée, 1975, desarrolla in extenso esta referencia.

Footnote Return 24. Baste citar el período más veloz, y tal vez el más significativo, del desarrollo de Duchamp (1912) comenzando por el Desnudo bajando una escalera y El Rey y la Reina atravesados por desnudos veloces (con sus variantes) hasta Aeroplano, en donde el factor velocidad es fundamental para enfrentar el estatismo ‘petrificado’ de ciertos referentes atávicos.

Footnote Return 25. En The Spirit Mercurius Jung dice: “Verdaderamente, Mercurio consiste en los extremos más opuestos; por una parte es indudablemente afin a la divinidad, por el otro, se encuentra en las cloacas.” Y en Psychologie et Alchimie, Hermes/Mercurio “es el ser hermafrodita primordial que se divide para formar la pareja clásica hermano-hermana, uniéndose luego en la conjunctio para reaparecer finalmente bajo la forma radiante de la Lumen Novum, del Lapis.” El hermafrodita es también “el Adán filosófico, aún con su costilla…”

Footnote Return 26. “Physiquement -L’œil est le sens de la perspective. DDS, p. 123.

Footnote Return 27. “Le jeu du tonneau est une très belle scuplture d’adresse.” DDS, p.37. “El juego de rana es una bella escultura de destreza.” Juego bastante popular en donde se trata de embocar aros metálicos en figuras de ranas -o sapos- dispuestos sobre una caja con agujeros numerados.

Footnote Return 28. Alfred Jarry, Selected Works of Alfred Jarry, editado por Roger Shattuck & Simon Watson Taylor, London: Jonathan Cape, 1965, p. 228-229.

Footnote Return 29. Lo que hace pensar en la Novia como un avatar de Afrodita; originalmente una antígua diosa asiática similar a la Ishtar mesopotámica y la diosa Sirio-Palestina Astarté. Y obviamente, la Virgen; según sus palabras refiriéndose al Gran Vidrio, una “apoteosis de la virginidad”.

Footnote Return 30. Lo que vino a cumplirse casualmente más tarde, cuando Novia y Solteros -al estilo estruendoso de Jarry- rompían literalmente el vidrio en medio de una accidental copulación mientras se transladaban, un panel encima del otro, en camión, desde el museo de Brooklyn donde fue exhibido intacto por primera y última vez, hasta Connecticut.

Footnote Return 31. 18 negros y 18 rojos, más un cero verde en la ruleta europea, ya que en la americana se utiliza el doble cero.

Footnote Return 32. Lennier Graham. Duchamp & Androginy: The Concept and its Context. Tout-Fait, vol.2, Issue 4 (January 2002) Articles <http://www.toutfait.com/issues/volume2/issue_4/articles/graham/graham1.html>.

Footnote Return 33. El color del cero. Único oasis -junto con el paño de la mesa- flanqueado por un 26 negro y un 32 rojo [VOISINS DU ZERO!, vecinos del cero, en argot de ruleta] en una versión numérica de aquella escena indeleble en el imaginario de Occidente.

Footnote Return 34. Duchamp, Marcel. Notas (póstumas) #s 227, 234, 249 y 279.

Footnote Return 35. Película de 7′ realizada en 1926 con la ayuda de Man Ray y Marc Allégret, en donde discos con juegos de palabras de Rrose Sélavy escritos en espiral, alternan con patrones abstractos de Discos Portando Espirales(realizados años atrás) girando hipnóticamente de adentro a afuera.

Footnote Return 36. DDS. Sur l’Obligation Monte-Carlo, p.268.

Footnote Return 37. www.volcano.net/~azoth/newpage1.htm y http://azothgallery.com/index.htm

Footnote Return 38. El sacerdote que cuelga sus hábitos. Por un lado, en el sentido de Laforgue: “La idea de libertad debería ser la de vivir sin ningún hábito (…) toda una existencia sin ningún acto generado o influenciado por hábito alguno. Cada acto un acto en sí mismo.” Revue Anarchiste, 1893. Pero también, porqué no, como una incapacidad específica: “L’impossibilité du faire (du fer).” Juego de palabras con el que Duchamp definió alguna vez el ‘genio’. Algo entre la imposibilidad de hacer (la incapacidad de continuar una actividad preestablecida) y la dureza o rigidez del hierro; lo que en español ofrece una precisión complementaria, la imposibilidad del yerro, del error. Es decir, una cierta infalibilidad intuitiva.

Footnote Return 39. En Jean Clair. Duchamp at the Turn of the Century. Tout-Fait, vol. 1, Issue 3 (December 2000) News <http://www.toutfait.com/issues/issue_3/News/clair/clair.html>. leemos: “En dos apreciaciones, al menos, aparte de este manuscrito, Duchamp explicará su estado como ‘défroqué.’ La primera, en 1959, a G. H. Hamilton, ‘Es cierto que tengo mucho de Cartesiano défroqué –porque me he contentado con el así llamado placer de utilizar el cartesianismo como forma lógica de pensar, muy cercana al pensamiento matemático.” (Entrevista con la BBC, en Londres, septiembre 14-22, 1959.) (…) Por segunda vez, en 1966, le confiaba al crítico Pierre Cabanne: ‘Hace ya cuarenta años que no toco un pincel o un lápiz, verdaderamente he estado défroqué en el sentido religioso del término…’ (Entrevista con Pierre Cabanne, “Je suis un défroqué” in Arts-Loisirs, Paris, no. 35, May 25 -31, 1966, p. 16-17.)

Footnote Return 40. Ambas referencias en Tomkins, p.261.

Footnote Return 41. Tomkins, p. 259.

Footnote Return 42. Clair, Jean. Méduse. Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1989. p.93.

Footnote Return 43. Para la historia de Perseo ver Lemprière, p.464-466. Es interesante anotar que fue precisamente Mercurio quien le dió a Perseo las sandalias aladas antes de que éste se embarcara en su aventura en pos de la Medusa. El casco alado, que garantiza invisibilidad, fue ofrecido en cambio por Plutón.

Footnote Return 44. “El Perseo es un emblema de triunfo. Perseo levanta la cabeza decapitada de la Medusa, la horrenda gorgona cuya mirada convierte a quienes mira en piedra, agarrándola de su cabellera de serpientes. El ingenio del héroe –evitando su mirada petrificante al utilizar su escudo metálico para reflejar su mirada- le permitió vencer lo que parece haber sido una amenaza invencible para la civilización.” En Sarah Blake McHam, “Public Sculpture in Renaissance Florence”, Looking at Italian Renaissance Sculpture, ed. Sarah Blake McHam. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998, p.169.

Footnote Return 45. Para un resumen de la historia y la interpretación de esta pintura ver la entrada en el catálogo de la exposición escrito por Flavio Caroli, L’Anima e il volto. Ritratto e fisiognomica da Leonardo a Bacon. Milan: Electa, 1988, p.182-183.

Footnote Return 46. Cabanne, Pierre. Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp. The Documents of 20th-Century Art. New York: Viking Press, 1976. p.72.

Footnote Return 47. Duchamp escribe a Picabia desde Monte Carlo: “es de una monotonía deliciosa sin la menor emoción.” Y a Doucet: “Estoy comenzando a jugar y la lentitud del progreso ya sea para más o para menos es un test de paciencia. Me mantengo en la igualdad, marcando el paso de una manera inquietante por la dicha paciencia. Pero en fin, hacer eso u otra cosa… No estoy arruinado ni tampoco soy millonario y no seré nunca lo uno ni lo otro.” DDS, p.269-270.

Y como resume Lebel: “El considera su martingala infalible en este respecto, pero también admite que si uno persevera lo suficiente podría esperar ganar una suma igual a la que ganaría un empleado que trabajase en su oficina tantas horas como el jugador en el casino.” Lebel, Robert. Marcel Duchamp. Paris: Le Dossiers Belfond, 1985, p.102.

Footnote Return 48. Juego de palabras de Duchamp entre equilibre y et qui libre? (quién es libre?).

Footnote Return 49. Lemprière, p.635.

Footnote Return 50. Max Harrison, Poulenc, Les Mamelles de Tiresias. Le Bal Masqué.(CD brochure) Saito Kinen Orchestra, Seiji Osawa (456 504-2 Philips).

Footnote Return 51. www.caduceus.co.uk

Fig. 1, 5-7 ©2003 Succession Marcel Duchamp, ARS, N.Y./ADAGP, Paris. All rights reserved.