By Duchamp, Marcel; Moffitt, John Francis; Duchamp, Marcel
A desirable ebook demonstrating the effect of alchemy and esoteric traditions at the mature artwork of Marcel Duchamp
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Additional resources for Alchemist of the avant-garde : the case of Marcel Duchamp
This collective drive to abstraction “is why contemporary art . . ”14 Besides unilaterally designating himself to be a divinely inspired Creator, the modern artist also envisions himself to be a Prophet: he foresees the shape of the future and, typically by means of the abstract spirit, he leads the people, who are implicitly compliant, towards the promised utopia. Wassily Kandinsky boldly proclaimed this prophetic-messianic function of the modern artist in 1911: “The abstract spirit takes possession ﬁrst of a single human spirit; later it governs an ever-increasing number of people.
Indeed, the provocative idea of God-like artistic creation appears to have been commonplace within classical literary theory. However, the real situation was otherwise. According to E. R. Curtius, Ancient Greece put the poet in the category of “god-like men,” alongside heroes, kings, heralds, priest, seers. . [Nonetheless,] the Greeks did not know the concept of the creative imagination. They had no word for it. What the poet produced was a fabrication. Aristotle praises Homer for having taught poets “to lie properly” (Poetics, 1460 a, 19).
To be a modern primitivist you certainly need not merely ape tribal art ransacked from the French colonies. Aurier is talking about the idea of the primordial, or primitivist attitudes, and not necessarily about any particular art-historical forms. ” And just what is it that lies beyond this abstract signiﬁcance? Obviously, it is that Ancient Wisdom which has always been available to the uniquely enlightened. ”65 We have yet another corollary in Paul Adam’s preface to Georges Vanor’s L’Art Symboliste (1889).