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Some favorite quotes from Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp

The Documents of 20th Century Art by Pierre Cabanne

1971 Viking Press

Page 42

Cabanne: Several interpretations of the “Large Glass” have been given. What is yours?

Duchamp: I don’t have any because I made it without an idea. The idea of the ensemble was purely and simply the execution…

Page 40

Cabanne: You called “The Bride” a “delay in glass”.

Duchamp: Yes. It was the poetic aspects of the words that I liked. I wanted to give “delay” a poetic sense that I couldn’t even explain…

Titles in general interested me a lot. Words interested me, and the bringing together of words to which I added a comma and “even” as adverb.

Cabanne: What is taste for you?

Duchamp: A habit. The repetition of something already accepted.

Page 46

Duchamp: The idea of “chance” (“hazard” in French), which many people were thinking about at the time, struck me too. The intention consisted above all in forgetting the hand, since fundamentally, even your hand is chance.

It’s always the idea of “amusement” which causes me to do things…

Pages 47-48

Cabanne: What determined your choice of “readymades”? [Ducham originally called them a DISTRACTION and CANNED CHANCE]

Duchamp: That depended upon the object. In general, I had to be aware of its “look”.

Page 16

Cabanne: Andre Breton said that you were the most intelligent man of the twentieth century. To you, what is intelligence?

Duchamp: That’s exactly what I was going to ask you! The word “intelligence” is the most elastic one can invent. There is a logical or Cartesian form of intelligence, but I think Breton meant to say something else. He envisaged, from the Surrealist point of view, a freer form of the problem; for him, intelligence was in some way the penetration of what the average normal man finds incomprehensible or difficult to understand. There is something like an explosion in the meaning of certain words: they have a greater value than their meaning in the dictionary.

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