tumblr_ms5g2rks8z1qhgogbo1_1280Fotografia por Alexander Liberman (Nova Iorque, 1959)

“Objectively, a game of chess looks very much like a pen-and-ink drawing, with the difference, however, that the chess player paints with black-and-white forms already prepared instead of inventing forms as does the artist. The design thus formed on the chessboard has apparently no visual aesthetic value and is more like a score for music which can be played again and again. Beauty in chess does not seem to be a visual experience as in painting. Beauty in chess is closer to beauty in poetry; the chess pieces are the block alphabet which shapes thoughts; and these thoughts, although making a visual design on the chessboard, express their beauty abstractly, like a poem… Actually, I believe that every chess player experiences a mixture of two aestethic pleasures: first the image akin to the poetic idea of writing, second the sensuous pleasure of the ideographic execution of that image of the chessboards… From my close contact with artists and chess players I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.”

Marcel Duchamp (Annual Meeting of the New York State Chess Federation, 1952)


julien wasser (1963)Fotografia por Julien Wasser (Pasadena, 1963)

“Chess in itself is a hobby, is a game, everybody can play it. But I took it very seriously and enjoyed it because I found some common points between chess and painting. When you play a game of chess, it is like designing something or constructing some mechanism of some kind by which you win or lose. The competitive side of it has no importance. The thing itself is very, very plastic. That is probably what attracted me in the game.”

Marcel Duchamp . Interview with James Johnson Sweeney (1955)


56f2f86b9a36c0a5629cccb8f38f2afdFotografia por Julien Wasser (Pasadena, 1963)

“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 in Laurence S. Gold’s Senior Thesis (Princeton University, 1958)


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)


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)