May 12, 2021

The year (Duchamp) in the making | Culture

The year (Duchamp) in the making | Culture



László Krasznahorkai the future word refers to a utopian desire: that from a good morning readers always open the newspaper for an unusual place, by the Culture section. By the way, there was no press written last Tuesday, the first day of this year, and I asked myself seriously – although smiling in the manner of La Gioconda– if something had stopped time forever. It should not be ruled out. In those first hours of the morning, the silence was absolute, simply brutal, and nothing prevented to think that the world had stopped rolling. Until I thought I heard the whistle of the neighbor's coffee maker. Was life coming back? It was not so clear. I looked out the window and nothing moved, not a leaf. I looked on the Internet in the digital newspaper of a local newspaper and there a headline read: The world welcomes the new year. I was stunned. Where could that be happening? Even more fearsome became the headline when the whistle of the coffeepler ceased, a sound that I understood that I had generated, that is, that it was pure "Mental thing", That concept that Da Vinci used to define art as an intellectual process and with which Marcel Duchamp would connect 400 years later to revolutionize everything.

When in 1919 the fourth centenary of the death of Da Vinci, It was memorable the endless succession of praise and ruminations that monopolized his figure. Sigmund Freud, for example, was exhaustive in analyzing Leonardo's neurosis in detail. And Paul Valéry considered him nothing less than "the first thinker capable of resolving the conflict between intelligence and emotion". Da Vinci became such a supreme and universal genius that the then-dadaist Duchamp was tempted to argue with him about both pageantry and extreme popularity, achieved especially after the extravagant theft, years before, of his Gioconda. The Mona Lisa stolen and then restored had become something so adored everywhere that on a postcard Duchamp painted him mustache and goatee and revealed to the world that the curious thing about that retouching was that, when you looked at the Mona Lisa, it became a man. Years later Duchamp would say: "It is not a woman disguised as a man; He is a real man, and that's where my discovery was, although I did not realize it then. "

Remembering this last Tuesday, I feared that the end of time would prevent me from witnessing, not so much the celebrations of the fifth centenary of Leonardo – which were expected to be immense – but the very attractive Duchamp Year that, via Marie-Pierre Bonniol (of the Duchampiana International), I had been announced by mail two days before. And I was just regretting going to lose all that when I heard the whistle again. Was life restarting? No. It was again about that "mental process", about the "Mental thing", That was still there, like the dinosaur, or like the month of January, in the same uncertainty, in the making, and I did not know if I wanted it to start rolling again and start the year.

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