Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on life of marcel duchamp. The paper “Rrose Sélavy, Marcel Duchamp” focuses on the important figure of dada and surrealism, Marcel Duchamp. As a child Duchamp was really close to his sister Suzanne (his older brothers had left home to go to school), who was his accomplice in games and activities. She was also the object of his first serious attempts at drawing and painting, which showed her in a variety of poses. Also a painter, she moved to Paris after her divorce to be closer to her brother Marcel and as an attempt to further her career, since at that time it was extremely difficult for a female painter to obtain recognition. Indeed, it was her relationship with her brothers, three of them eminent artists, which facilitated her acceptance in the art world. The famous photographer Man Ray became Duchamp’s friend and collaborator. Not only he helped Duchamp photograph and “create” Rrose, he also was instrumental in the development of many other works. It was in collaboration with him and Marc Allégret in the period 1925–1926 that Duchamp filmed early versions of Rotoreliefs, a film that later became known as Anémic Cinéma. It is worth mentioning an earlier collaboration in 1920, as it almost finished with the decapitation of Man Ray. Duchamp had built the Rotative plaque de verre, a piece which involved the use of a motor to spin squares of glass on which segments of a circle were painted. The optical effect achieved is incredible: when the apparatus spins, the circle segments appear to be closed concentric circles. After a first successful attempt, Man Ray set up to photograph the experiment (Duchamp did not consider it art but it is held as one of the first examples of kinetic art) and, when the machine was turned on, a belt broke, caught a piece of the glass which flew off and hit Man Ray in the head.
Marcel Duchamp coined the term “readymades”, which was used to refer to ordinary manufactured objects that he selected, modified and signed. He maintained that by attributing a title to an object and signing it, the object becomes a work of art [smARThistory]. The term was commonly used in the United States to distinguish manufactured from handmade items. Marcel Duchamp conceived the readymades as an antidote to what he called “retinal art”, this is, art that has only visual value. Duchamp selected his work according to their conceptual value and on the basis of visual indifference. In this manner, a common object would be elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of the artist.
In his lifetime, Duchamp-Selavy produced no more than 20 readymades. This decision arises from his awareness of the fact that, by limiting the production he could avoid the influence of his own taste (according to his words, “the enemy of art”) in his work.
From 1920, Marcel Duchamp decided to present some of his work using the pseudonym of Rrose Slavy. The choice of name is extravagant to say the least. Two potential explanations have been elaborated: the first one is that it reads as “Eros, c’est la vie”, which can be translated as “Eros, that’s life”. or, a second interpretation suggests that it really reads as “arroser la vie”, i.e. to make a toast to life.