Unreal Nature

May 22, 2017

Detached from the Specific Craft that Legitimated It

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:54 am

… it is a fact that the destiny of modern art passed, in August 1912 in Munich, through the Triebschicksal (instincts and their vicissitudes) of an individual …

This is from Pictorial Nominalism: On Marcel Duchamp’s Passage from Painting to the Readymade by Thierry de Duve (1991):

… Something is revealed in a work of art, but it is not so much what the author sacrifices to the language that makes it into a text nor the symptomatic truth that the manifest level of the work hides but, rather, what the movement from hidden to manifest reveals of its own conditions of emergence.

… On 18 June 1912 Duchamp took the train to Munich, from which he would return on 10 October with [five drawings and paintings]. The reasons for his sudden departure from Munich will always remain a mystery, as has his everyday life in the Bavarian capital. One thing is certain: the group of artworks that he realized there — the last ones from his “cubist” period — constitute a turning point in his career as a painter as well as in his personal life. On returning from Paris he told himself: “Marcel, no more painting; go get a job.” Indeed his first abandonment of painting dates from his return from Munich. But the motto was quickly denied: “I looked for a job in order to get enough time to paint for myself.”

… Out of Munich will result a “little game between I and me,” at once personal therapy and artistic strategy taking as subject matter the gap between “the man who suffers” and “the mind which creates.”

… The “abandonment” of painting is the passage by which its name is detached from the specific craft that legitimated it. The “invention” of the readymade is the transition by which the name painting, having lost its specific legitimacy, nonetheless connects with the generic name art. This passage and this transition are not the work of a single man but of a whole culture that the work of this man reveals to itself and that it reveals in the first place by naming them. The Passage from the Virgin to the Bride is the title that Duchamp would give in August 1912 to the painting that a month later would precipitate his decision to abandon painting.

… Since it is a fact that the destiny of modern art passed, in August 1912 in Munich, through the Triebschicksal (instincts and their vicissitudes) of an individual — if not through the aesthetic destiny of a single painting — it is impossible not to call out to psychoanalytic theory and method …

-Julie

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