Laura Gonzalez


19 Feb 2005

Appearance Stripped Bare

The more I read about him, the more puzzled I am by Marcel Duchamp‚Äôs Large Glass (The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors Even). I get as far as understanding that it is a painting of a machine and that The Green Box is roughly its instruction manual. I also more or less understand the relationship between the Bride‚Äôs section, the Bachelor’s section and the general functioning of the machine (inaccurately, or rather incompletely visualized in the videos below, I think)

I agree with Octavio Paz’s description and evaluation of the piece. However, I profoundly disagree with his interpretation and its links to Etant Donnees. Paz tries to dig an ancestral past and equate the Bride to ancient Hindi myths, to Diana and Artemis. While this reading may be appropriate as a distant context, en passant, it just presents one of the anamorphous dimensions of the Large Glass, reducing it to the 2 or 3 dimensions it is trying to avoid). The piece’s relation to technology, to the painting tradition, to science, to perspective, to gender (both feminine and masculine) are some of the other avenues which interpretation could follow, all of them interdependent.

Octavio Paz’s sets out on a huge task (to analyze the Finnegan’s Wake of the art world) without any other premise than to procure a ‘reading’ of the Large Glass. But, in Duchamp’s case, I wonder if it is not better either to follow a particular enterprise (ie. Does this work seduce?) or just leave the description and evaluation sections orphaned of the interpretation one.

Posted in Blog, Seductive artworks, Seductive things

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About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.