cri_000000212136Marcel Duchamp . The Chess Players (1965)

“And why isn’t my chess playing an art activity? A chess game is very plastic. You construct it. It’s mechanical sculpture and with chess one creates beautiful problems; and that beauty is made with the head and hands.”

Marcel Duchamp (interview with Truman Capote in Richard Avedon, Observations, 1959)


Chess = a design on slate / that one erases, / the beauty of which / one can reproduce without the / intervention of the ‘hand.’

Marcel Duchamp


3627662e-e78f-4cb1-a79b-28b63263c34eFotografia por Michel Sima (ca. 1965)

“The plight of the chess master is much more difficult though – much more depressing. An artist knows that maybe someday there’ll be recognition and monetary reward but for the chessmaster there is little public recognition and absolutely no hope of supporting himself by his endeavors. If Bobby Fischer came to me for advice, I certainly would not discourage him – as if anyone could – but I would try to make it positively clear that he will never have any money from chess, live a monk-like existence and know more rejection than any artist ever has, struggling to be known and accepted.”

Marcel Duchamp (Chess Life, 1961)


K1976_004_008_o2 (1965)Fotografia por Dena (Nova Iorque, 1965)

“Chess is a sport. A violent sport. This detracts from its most artistic connection. Of course, one intriguing aspect of the game that does imply artistic connotations is the actual geometric patterns and variations of the actual set-up of the pieces and in the combinative, tactical, strategical and positional sense. It’s a sad expression though – somewhat like religious art – it is not very gay. If it is anything, it is a struggle.”

Marcel Duchamp (Chess Life, 1961)


PAR104557Fotografia por Henry Cartier-Bresson (Paris, 1968)

“A game of chess is a visual and plastic thing, and if it isn’t geometric in the static sense of the word, it is mechanical, since it moves; it’s a drawing, it’s a mechanical reality. The pieces aren’t pretty in themselves, any more than is the form of the game, but what is pretty – if the word pretty can be used – is the movement. Well, it is mechanical, the way, for example, a Calder is mechanical. In chess there are some extremely beautiful things in the domain of movement, but not in the visual domain. It’s the imagining of the movement or of the gesture that makes the beauty, in this case. It’s completely in one’s grey matter.”

in Pierre Cabanne . Entretiens Avec Marcel Duchamp (Editions Belfond, 1967)


shigeko_kubota_duchamp_cage_chessFotografia por Shigeko Kubota (Toronto, 1968)

“I don’t play very much anymore. I have a hard time winning, even from the wood pushers as we call them. Once or twice a year I go to the Marshall Chess Club across the street, but that’s all. You can forget about something you love very much. It’s a Zen concept.”

Marcel Duchamp (The New York Times, 1968)


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Fotografia por Man Ray (Cadaqués, 1968)

“The word ludic – in latin ludo – mean to play, wich is a thing to live for. You play chess and you kill, but you don’t kill much as if with…. people live after being killed, you see…. in chess, but not in normal wars. It’s a peaceful thing, it’s a peaceful way of understanding life, to play. Play anything else, not chess alone, but all games. Play with life, then you are just as alive and more alive than peo­ple who believe in reli­gion and art.”

Marcel Duchamp (In His Own Words, 1968)