Saturday, June 27, 2009

The peaches are inedible but can be studied

Inept Atmospheres:
Duchamp’s Air de Paris
By Bryce Digdug © 2009

Duchamp purchased this "empty" ampoule from a pharmacist in Paris as a souvenir for his close friend and patron, Walter C. Arensberg. A vial with nothing in it may be the most insubstantial "work of art" imaginable. From a molecular point of view, air is not considered nothing, but when displayed so carefully in an art museum it seems to be less than one might expect. Its precise meaning was rendered even more unstable in 1949, when the ampoule was accidentally broken and repaired, thus begging the question: Is the air even from Paris anymore?” - Philadelphia Museum of Art Catalog

Phial philter love potion number 9 the perfume “Air de Paris” by Duchamp now air of Philadelphia. Replicas of the air were produced for the Valises but where? Vial breaks and 50cc of Paris air is released and mixed with the air of Philadelphia. Does it still float around inside the museum as Duchamp’s ghost? In The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even he tried to freeze the inevitable aging process, a moment in time and the chemical reactions. Paintings’ colors change on museum walls but not when vacuum-sealed under glass like peaches. Then the glass is transported and breaks and the cracks do not look good no matter the explanations about chance. The peaches are inedible but can be studied. It is an amazingly modern work partially because of its steel window frame, its jar lid. In the bottom pane bachelor lovers are trapped unable to reach the stinging wasp. They can fire off a few volleys the splashes reaching the neo-Platonic realm of the mirror above the bed—as is above, so below.

"Bryce Digdug's Four Tires Filled in Barstow and a Spare is an overt reference to Duchamp's Air de Paris. Here Digdug humorously contrasts the culture (and air) of Paris with that of Barstow, California. The attendants at Terrible Herbst were terribly upset that Bryce was using that much of their air, but he bought them Mr. Goodbars. The pressurized air is the work of art not the tires or the mag wheels. Bryce does not have a car so the work has an air of melancholy. A car without wheels is sad, but here are tires without a chassis or engine." This work has been displayed at the Mohave Museum of Conceptual Art as well as the NASCAR Hall of Fame." - Phial Magazine


Salty Miss Jill said...

I have seen this very ampoule live and in person. I used to live five blocks away from it, matter of fact. Just a little too far for string phones, though.

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

When will it be shown at the Guggenheim of the Desert in Ludlow?

Bryce Digdug said...

Salty- to live that close to MOMA, wow. I love the word ampoule.

Ladron- now that the Gugg has closed in Las Vegas perhaps Barstow has an opening.