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Fotografia por Constantin Brancusi (Villefranche-sur-Mer, 1931)

“All this twaddle, the existence of God, atheism, determinism, liberation, societies, death, etc., are pieces of a chess game called language, and they are amusing only if one does not preoccupy oneself with winning or losing this game of chess.”

Marcel Duchamp


shigeko_kubota_duchamp_cage_chessFotografia por Shigeko Kubota (Toronto, 1968)

“All that is teaching, school, followers, never interested me and still doesn’t. (…) Artists or not, we can’t help our fellow men. Each individual fends for himself. I don’t believe in the ant-hill society of the future. I still believe in the individual and every man for himself, like in shipwreck.”

Marcel Duchamp


Fotografia por Henry Cartier-Bresson (Paris, 1968)

“Like Leonardo, Duchamp had always been more interested in the process of structuring a work of art than in the final execution and ultimate result. Chess seemed to make possible a constant renewal of this process, involving a combination of mathematics and space, logic and imagination, in which the end result is zero in the sense that the board is swept clean. Thus, as a form of mathematic-esthetic speculation, chess playing recapitulated Duchamp’s renunciation of painting and summarized the Dada belief that the value of creative activity lies in the process, in the act of making, rather than in the esthetic significance of the thing made.”

Joseph Masheck in Marcel Duchamp in Perspective (Da Capo Press, 2002)



“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 is a marvelous piece of Cartesianism, and so imaginative that it doesn’t even look Cartesian at first. The beautiful combinations that chess players invent – you don’t see them coming, but afterward there is no mystery – it’s a pure logical conclusion.

Marcel Duchamp


cri_000000212136Marcel Duchamp . The Chess Players (1965)

“Chess has the visual possibilities of art. It is a mechanistic sculpture that presents exciting plastic values. If you know the game you can feel that the bishop is like a lever. It incites a whole new pattern when moved. There is a mental end implied when you look at the formation of the pieces on the board. The transformation of the visual aspect to the grey matter is what always happens in chess and what should happen in art.”

Marcel Duchamp