Cheval Vapeur. Horse Power keeps on pushing The Trope

enhancement
enhancement
Cheval Majeur during The Opening Reception at Galerie Louis Carré with Marcel Duchamp seated in the back


"Here stand the evaporated volumes of another cultural zombie, those of Cheval-vapeur (CV), which revolve at around 200 rpm, driven by a one-horse-power electric motor. The threatening indetermination of a volume of this size (150 x 153 x 97 cm) moving at high speed is, meanwhile, complemented by two panels that show the contents of the letter sent by the artist to the Galerie Louis Carré & Cie in Paris informing them of his intentions, and a photograph of the presentation at the same gallery, on 22 June 1966, of Cheval Majeur, with Marcel Duchamp in the background. This way, it is insinuated that there is a need for an in-depth study of the particularities concerning the edition of this sculpture. Marcel Duchamp demonstrates, once more, his stand in regards to his appropriationist theses by adding a revolving pedestal, and giving, effectively, a monumental size and a new title to his brother’s work. The evident tropism in this work foregrounds, once more, to the tropism that sustains the necrophilic economy of culture and ensures its full continuity."

Cheval Vapeur - Letter sent to Louis Carré - Declaration of Intentions


"Dear Monsieur Carré,

Aware that you have been the custodian of a few confessions over the course of your life which I consider, in all modesty, frankly revealing, I am writing to share another one with you concerning the decision of an old friend of yours which I hope you will receive affectionally.

I wish to confirm my decision to create a fiberglass reproduction of Cheval Majeur as Marcel Duchamp had planned with its revolving pedestal. I do not want to make any claims or discuss the determination of M. Duchamp nor the reception given by critics of the time to his decision to present his brother's work in this way. I must admit, however, that the discrediting opinions of the critics suggest —timidly perhaps— a necrophilic task that I personally would like to return to. I say this with little prudence but sincerely.

As I have said, my aim is to keep the revolving pedestal with a caveat, though. I will allow myself the rigor of substituting the original electric motor for one with a full horsepower strength. I image you can get an idea of what this means. My bet is that at this speed the original shapes will vanish an others will appear strongly. I do not know. We will have to wait for the results. I must confess that I prefer to title the work Cheval Vapeur since I sense a disappearance of volumes.

Thank you, and I hope that my decision seems to you at least consistent"

Alternative content