Louis Esterhuizen. Die naakte skaakopponent

Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp

Via ‘n skakel op Jan Pollet se webblad land ek op die Archives of American Art waar ‘n onderhoud met Eve Babitz, die dame wat hiernaas naak sit en skaak speel teen die beroemde kunstenaar, Marcel Duchamp,  gelees kan word. Die onderhoud is op 14 Junie 2000 met haar gevoer.

Volgens die inleidende artikel vorm dié foto ‘n integrale deel van die Amerikaanse kultuurskat en lewer dit belangrike kommentaar op die visuale kunste van die laat 1950s en vroeë 1960s: “Part of an ongoing series on the theme of artists and models, this interview focused on the subject’s experience as the nude woman playing chess with Marcel Duchamp at his Pasadena Art Museum retrospective in 1963. Purportedly Duchamp’s favorite photograph, staged and taken by Julian Wasser, it is among the key documentary images of American modern art. This interview offers inside information about Los Angeles and the cultural world of the late 1960s.”

Blykbaar was Marcel Duchamp aan die einde van sy loopbaan van mening dat alles wat hy deur middel van sy skilderkuns wou sê en bereik, afgehandel was. Hy het hom gevolglik toegespits op die één oorheersende passie in sy lewe, naamlik skaak. Vandaar die feit dat hierdie foto vir Duchamp self van groot waarde was.

Vervolgens enkele aanhalings uit die uitgebreide onderhoud: “You know, I’d never thought of myself as a model in that thing, but I guess I was volunteering for that job.  I thought of myself as, I was like an art groupie/art model and I wanted to – I never modeled for anything like that and never again did, and really most artists, you know, when they have models they really are drawing them basically, like in sculptures, not taking photographs, so I don’t know who-and it wasn’t Duchamp’s idea so I figured I was the artist and the model in that one. “

Nude Descending a Staircase

Nude Descending a Staircase

Verder wil dit voorkom asof haar besluit om naak teenoor Duchamp stelling in te neem, ‘n poging tot weerwraak was jeens die kurator van die Pasadena Art Museum se retrospektiewe uitstalling van Duchamp se kunsloopbaan. Sy, as twintigjarige, en enkele ander jeugdiges was toegang tot die uitstalling geweier deur die kurator, Walter Hopps. Die voorstel om tydens die amptelike opening naak teenoor Duchamp te gaan sit vir die spel is glo deur Jim Elliott, nog ‘n jong kunstenaar wat weggewys was, gemaak: “He (Elliott) said he had this great idea that I should play chess naked with Marcel Duchamp and it seem to be such a great idea that it was just like the best idea I’d ever heard in my life. It was like a great idea. I mean, it was, not only was it vengeance, it was art, and it was like a great idea. And even if it didn’t get any vengeance, it would still turn out okay with me because, you know, it would be sort of immortalized. I would be this, you know, here’s this Nude Descending the Staircase guy and now he’s going to be The Nude in the Pasadena Art Museum. But, of course, I said, you know, I didn’t think that the Pasadena Art Museum old ladies would go along with this.”

Nou ja, toe. Dit strek Duchamp tot eer dat hy – ten spyte van die flagrante distraksie – tog daarin geslaag het om die naakte dame  in drie spelle na mekaar te klop.

Vir jou leesplesier volg ‘n toepaslike gedig hieronder.

***

A Little Old Chess Poem

 

Once upon a time there was a King and a Queen —
In fact, there were two of each.
One couple had the most beautiful country ever seen,
The others had a house by a rocky beach.

Both countries had people who loved them dearly,
But did the royalty love them back?
The poor King called them pawns; which so clearly
Showed the compassion he lacked.

Talking about Knights, both Kings had two,
And the poor white Queen had an affair with one.
And the King had a plan on what to do,
To find out who was the father of his son.

He declared war upon his rich dark neighbor,
Asked his pawns prepare for a fight.
So they dropped their labour,
And they left that night.

His son was one of the first to attack —
At least so it seemed but the King showed his power.
He held his son back,
And he hid him in a tower.

The King watched his Queen, how would she react
When she saw her son fall in a fight.
Then suddenly, the pawn was attacked,
And the Queen fell in the arms of a Knight.

In anger the King sent the Knight
Away from the Queen and into the fight.
Deep in his heart he thought he was right.
He couldn’t think clearly, try as he might.

The King lost his people, his wife and his son,
And he looked for someone to blame.
But when the other army came he realized what he’d done —
He never even knew a single pawn’s name.

© Tomas Forsman

 

 

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Een Kommentaar op “Louis Esterhuizen. Die naakte skaakopponent”

  1. Leon Retief :

    Louis, skynbaar het Duchamp se eerste vrou, as laaste gebaar toe sy hom verlaat het, al sy skaakstukke op die bord vasgelym. Wat Duchamp daarvan gedink het weet ek nie, maar ek het ‘n vermoede dat hy dit as Dada-gebaar sou waardeer het…

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