The curious thing about the Ready-Made is that I've never been able to arrive at a definition or explanation that fully satisfies me. There's still magic in the idea, so I'd rather keep it that way than try to be exoteric about it.
The basis for my own work during the years just before coming to America in 1915 was a desire to break up forms - to 'decompose' them much along the lines the cubists had done. But I wanted to go further - much further - in fact, in quite another direction altogether.
In the midst of each epoch, I fully realize that a new epoch will dawn.
I am afraid to end up being in need to sell canvases - in other words, to be a society painter.
I shy away from the word 'creation.' In the ordinary, social meaning of the word - well, it's very nice, but fundamentally, I don't believe in the creative function of the artist. He's a man like any other.
Artists of all times are like the gamblers of Monte Carlo, and this blind lottery allows some to succeed and ruins others. In my opinion, neither the winners nor the losers are worth worrying about.
Since the tubes of paint used by the artist are manufactured and ready-made products, we must conclude that all the paintings in the world are 'ready-mades aided' and also works of assemblage.
I was highly attracted to chess for forty or forty-five years; then, little by little, my enthusiasm lessened.
One does not contemplate it like a picture. The idea of contemplation disappears completely. Simply take note that it's a bottle rack, or that it's a bottle rack that has changed its destination... It's not the visual question of the readymade that counts; it's the fact that it exists, even.
My position is the lack of a position, but, of course, you can't even talk about it; the minute you talk, you spoil the whole game.
The word 'art' interests me very much. If it comes from Sanskrit, as I've heard, it signifies 'making.' Now everyone makes something, and those who make things on a canvas with a frame, they're called artists. Formerly, they were called craftsmen, a term I prefer. We're all craftsmen, in civilian or military or artistic life.
For me, the 'Three Stoppages' was a first gesture liberating me from the past.
From a purely ethnological point of view, I was not a period-born Dada.
In French, there is an old expression, la patte, meaning the artist's touch, his personal style, his 'paw'. I wanted to get away from la patte and from all that retinal painting.
I haven't been in the Louvre for twenty years. It doesn't interest me because I have these doubts about the value of the judgments which decided that all these pictures should be presented to the Louvre instead of others which weren't even considered.
Painter after painter, since the beginning of the century, has tended toward abstraction. First, the Impressionists simplified the landscape in terms of color, and then the Fauves simplified it again by adding distortion, which, for some reason, is a characteristic of our century.
In chess, there are some extremely beautiful things in the domain of movement, but not in the visual domain. It's the imagining of the movement or of the gesture that makes the beauty in this case.
My Ready-Mades have nothing to do with the 'objet trouve' because the so-called 'found object' is completely directed by personal taste. Personal taste decides that this is a beautiful object and is unique.
One must pass through the network of influence. One is obligated to be influenced, and one accepts this influence very naturally. From the start, one doesn't realize this. The first thing to know: one doesn't realize one is influenced. One thinks he is already liberated, and one is far from it!
Dada was an extreme protest against the physical side of painting. It was a metaphysical attitude.
The last hundred years have been retinal; even the cubists were. The surrealists tried to free themselves, and earlier so had the dadaists, but unfortunately, these latter were nihilists and didn't produce enough to prove their point, which, by the way, they didn't have to prove - according to their theory.
There is something like an explosion in the meaning of certain words: they have a greater value than their meaning in the dictionary.
Why are all the artists so dead-set on distorting? It seems to be a reaction against photography, but I'm not sure.
When cubism began to take a social form, Metzinger was especially talked about. He explained cubism, while Picasso never explained anything. It took a few years to see that not talking was better than talking too much.
It is curious to note how fragile the memory is, even for the important times in one's life. This is, moreover, what explains the fortunate fantasy of history.
Living is more a question of what one spends than what one makes.
The individual, man as a man, man as a brain, if you like, interests me more than what he makes, because I've noticed that most artists only repeat themselves.
What would I do with money? I have enough for my needs. I don't want any more. If I had a lot, I would have to care for it, worry about it.
When I put a bicycle wheel on a stool, the fork down, there was no idea of a 'ready-made' or anything else. It was just a distraction. I didn't have any special reason to do it, or any intention of showing it or describing anything.
Gravity is not controlled physically in us by one of the 5 ordinary senses. We always reduce a gravity experience to an autocognizance, real or imagined, registered inside us in the region of the stomach.
Tradition is the great misleader because it's too easy to follow what has already been done - even though you may think you're giving it a kick. I was really trying to invent, instead of merely expressing myself.
Alchemy is a kind of philosophy: a kind of thinking that leads to a way of understanding.
Words are the tools of 'to be' - of expression. They are completely built on the fact that you 'are,' and in order to express it, you have built a little alphabet, and you make your words from it.
In the beginning, the cubists broke up form without even knowing they were doing it. Probably the compulsion to show multiple sides of an object forced us to break the object up - or, even better, to project a panorama that unfolded different facets of the same object.
I came to feel an artist might use anything - a dot, a line, the most conventional or unconventional symbol - t say what he wanted to say.
Painting is a language of its own. You cannot interpret one form of expression with another form of expression.
Rational intelligence is dangerous and leads to ratiocination. The painter is a medium who doesn't realize what he is doing. No translation can express the mystery of sensibility, a word, still unreliable, which is nevertheless the basis of painting or poetry, like a kind of alchemy.
I became a librarian at the Sainte-Genevieve Library in Paris. I made this gesture to rid myself of a certain milieu, a certain attitude, to have a clean conscience, but also to make a living. I was twenty-five. I had been told that one must make a living, and I believed it.
In the 'Nude Descending a Staircase,' I wanted to create a static image of movement: movement is an abstraction, a deduction articulated within the painting, without our knowing if a real person is or isn't descending an equally real staircase.
The entire world of art has reached such a low level, it has been commercialized to such a degree that art and everything related to it has become one of the most trivial activities of our epoch.
I refused to accept anything, doubted everything. So, doubting everything, I had to find something that had not existed before, something I had not thought of before. Any idea that came to me, the thing would be to turn it around and try to see it with another set of senses.
You have to approach something with indifference, as if you had no aesthetic emotion. The choice of readymades is always based on visual indifference and, at the same time, on the total absence of good or bad taste.
I didn't abandon everything at a moment's notice - on the contrary. I returned to France from America, leaving the 'Large Glass' unfinished.
It's a product of two poles - there's the pole of the one who makes the work, and the pole of the one who looks at it. I give the latter as much importance as the one who makes it.
I wanted to use my possibility to be an individual, and I suppose I have, no?
Words such as truth, art, veracity, or anything are stupid in themselves.