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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Extra resources for Alchemist of the avant-garde : the case of Marcel Duchamp
By learning the correspondences, by which worlds are made to concur with the heavens, one comes to know about those correspondences which do exist between these visible and tangible things of this terrestrial world and those invisible and unfathomable things belonging to the spiritual world [choses invisibles et impondérables du monde spirituel]. 40 This bisexual being is, however, a motif which also ﬁgures in the works of the German Romantics, as well as in French letters, in ﬁction by Xavière Gauthier, Sar Joséphin Péladan, and the Dumas brothers, among others.
As with the strictly occultist sects, there were two broad paths along which the new Protestant sects could journey. Either the road led to some kind of compromise with the reigning scientiﬁc rationalism, or it doubled back to a fresh assertion of the philosophia perennis. Initially wholly American, Spiritualism briskly crossed the Atlantic, became AN ESOTERIC FRENCH ADOLESCENCE FOR DUCHAMP 29 hugely popular in France, and thereby acquired a more traditional, European, scripturally ritualized character.
The artistic result was Duchamp’s androgyne, in effect him/herself, “Rrose Sélavy” (see ﬁg. 20). As is recognized by scholars of Balzac’s once immensely popular mystical novel, he had derived the myth of the Androgyne from Swedenborg. In Seraphita, one reads: To poets and writers, [Swedenborgism] is inﬁnitely marvellous; to seers, it is all absolute truth. . By learning the correspondences, by which worlds are made to concur with the heavens, one comes to know about those correspondences which do exist between these visible and tangible things of this terrestrial world and those invisible and unfathomable things belonging to the spiritual world [choses invisibles et impondérables du monde spirituel].