Fotografia por Eliot Elisofon (Nova Iorque, 1952)

“André Breton once compared his abandonment of painting with Rimbaud’s break with poetry. Chess would be in these terms a sort of Harrar in New York, even more execrable than that of the poet. But Duchamp’s inactivity is of a different order from Rimbaud’s silence. The adolescent poet opposes a total negation to poetry and disowns his work; his silence is a wall and we don’t know what lies behind this refusal to speak: wisdom, desperation, or a psychic change that converted a great poet into a mediocre adventurer. Duchamp’s silence is open; he affirms that art is one of the highest forms of existence, on condition that the artist escapes a double trap – the illusion of the work of art and the temptation to wear the mask of the artist. Both of these petrify us; the first makes a prison of a passion, and the second a profession of freedom.”

Octavio Paz in Marcel Duchamp: Appearance Stripped Bare (Arcade Publishing, 1990)