Le Porte-bouteilles
Date 1914 - 1964
Medium Galvanized iron
Dimensions 59 x 37 cm
Inventory ID UID 102-178
In 1914, Marcel Duchamp exhibited a Séchoir à bouteilles (Bottle Dryer) (which was photographed by Man Ray) at the centre of his workshop. For him, this was not a matter of a play on meanings by means of a new name (as later, in 1917, with the urinal rechristened Fountain), but of a work distinguished and entirely constituted by its presentation alone. ‘Ready-made’ was the name Marcel Duchamp gave, starting in 1916, to the objects he chose and signed. Since the choice of objects had to obey a double principle of indifference and economy, the ready-mades were few in number (Trap, Bottle Rack, Snow Shovel) and sometimes accompanied by enigmatic titles. Duchamp readily divided them into several categories (‘aided or rectified readymades’, ‘semi-ready-mades’, etc.). As Thierry de Duve pointed out, most of the ready-mades were completely or partially made of iron. The material was chosen because of the wordplay in French between fer (iron) and faire (to make). The English translation of the word also allows for an assimilation between iron and irony. As Duchamp himself explained in a lecture at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1961, ‘Another aspect of the ready-made is that there is nothing unique about it.... The replica of a ready-made conveys the same message; in fact, almost all the ready-mades existing today are not the originals in the accepted sense of the term.’ In 1964 (four years before his death), the Schwarz Gallery in Milan released the thirteen ready-mades in an edition of eight signed and numbered examples of each. According to Duchamp, ‘today the notion of the original has expanded up to 8.’ The Berardo Collection preserves one example of the ‘Bottle Rack’. J-FC