For the last 2 years I have been a self taught art student, gathering art books and artists biographies in piles beside my bed. There have been days, I have spent with Frida Kahlo, Picasso, Warhol, Calder, Kusama (big names mainly as I am still at the beginning of the “road”) etc, but I got really involved with Marcel Duchamp. I found a tinny book in a bookshop in Paris named THE AFTERNOON INTERVIEWS published in 2013, yet the artist was interviewed in 1964. I must say I enjoyed his ideas pretty much. I will share some with you today.
“The artist produces nothing until the onlooker has said, “You have produced something marvelous.” The onlooker has the last word on it.”
“You don’t know why you breathe, after all.”
Marcel about competition between artists. “I find that so stupid. There should not be any competition. I mean there is nothing to compete for except the money. It’s just a form of disguised envy, don’t you think?”
“I think there is a great deal to the idea of not doing a thing, but that when you do a thing, you don’t do it in five minutes or in five hours, but in five years.” He thought that art in his days was art for the moment, but he hated the idea. “Slow work is considered bad: you must do a painting at the most in an afternoon. Otherwise you’re stupid. I mean, you are not considered important at all. And that is for me, a thing I can’t admit.”
Duchamp on his Bicycle Wheel. “It was an idea; to have it in your own place the way you have a fire. It was not intended to be shown, to be seen. It was just for my own use, the way you have a pencil sharpener, except that there was no usefulness to it. It was completely un-useful.”
If you ever wonder why artists draw the way they do…it’s not because they can’t as is taught at school, but because “Tradition is the prison in which you live.” “The education is so strong in every child. It holds them like a chain. That’s what I wanted to avoid, and yet I didn’t completely get free. But I tried to, consciously. I unlearned to draw. I actually had to forget with my hand.”
And here is the last one I underlined, which I really loved… “I don’t believe in art. I believe in the artist.”
At the end I must say, though it might sound strange from someone who has just started to associate oneself with art, but to be true, when somebody asks me what style I am following when creating object of art myself, I always say that I don’t know…probably I am just trying to find something personal, something that is not inspired by other forms of art. And when I heard in this interview what Marcel Duchamp said, I was amazed: “I have tried to keep away from the group activities. It’s a form of individualism, nothing else. I have wanted to make a personal contribution to it and it can only be done if you think by yourself and not follow!” BRAVO! Just what I think!
Here is a full interview done in 1968 by BBC: