Marcel Duchamp and the Architecture of Desire
While much has been written on Marcel Duchamp – one of the twentieth century's most beguiling artists – the subject of his flirtation with architecture seems to have been largely overlooked. Yet, in the carefully arranged plans and sections organising the blueprint of desire in the Large Glass, his numerous pieces replicating architectural fragments, and his involvement in designing exhibitions, Duchamp's fascination with architectural design is clearly evident.
As his unconventional architectural influences – Niceron, Lequeu and Kiesler - and diverse legacy - Tschumi, OMA, Webb, Diller + Scofidio and Nicholson - indicate, Duchamp was not as much interested in 'built' architecture as he was in the architecture of desire, re-constructing the imagination through drawing and testing the boundaries between reality and its aesthetic and philosophical possibilities.
Marcel Duchamp and the Architecture of Desire examines the link between architectural thinking and Duchamp's work. By employing drawing and making – the tools of the architect – I perform a forensic dissection of Duchamp’s final enigmatic work Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas… demonstrating an innovative research methodology that uses architectural design to grasp meaning beyond textual analysis. This novel reading of his ideas and methods adds to, but also challenges, other art-historical interpretations. Through three main themes – allegory, visuality and desire – the work defines and theorises an alternative drawing practice positioned between art and architecture that predates and includes Duchamp.
The talk will discuss my investigation of Duchamp’s methodology in constructing the female nude figure in Given, which I see as a visual cast or a three-dimensional print in parchment: ‘a gift from vision to touch’.
Dr Penelope Haralambidou is a Senior Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, where she coordinates the MPhil/PhD Programmes and MArch Unit 24.
Her early speculative architectural projects have received prizes in competitions and have been exhibited internationally, for instance in the form of digital films as part of the Venice Architecture Biennale, 2000. She was a founding member of Tessera, 1999–2004, an interdisciplinary practice involved in experimental design, installation, curating and exhibition design, whose work was distinguished in architectural competitions, exhibited and published internationally. Projects included: Drawing Fix, an installation for the Museum of Modern Art, Athens, 2002, and exhibition designs at the RIBA, London, 2003, and the Art Directors Club, New York, 2003.
Her current work lies between architectural design, art practice and curating, experimental film and critical theory and has been published and exhibited internationally. Curatorial/research projects include: Spatial Imagination, 2006, the culmination of work produced for an EPSRC and AHRC, Designing for the 21st Century, Research Cluster; The Blossoming of Perspective, a solo exhibition at the DomoBaal Gallery, 2007; andSpeculative Models, a two person exhibition at London Gallery West, 2009. She is the author of Marcel Duchamp and the Architecture of Desire (Ashgate, 2013), author and editor of The Blossoming of Perspective: A Study (DomoBaal Editions, 2007) and has contributed writing on themes such allegory, figural theory, stereoscopy and film in architecture to a wide range of publications.
More information from Architecture International Lecture Series Organiser: Ivana Wingham