Duchamp – the title as “an invisible color”
This starts a series of annotated details from the Marcel Duchamp show.
Baptism – Marcel Duchamp – 1911
Duchamp is quoted:
The presence of a non-descriptive title appears for the first time. In fact from then on, I always gave an important role to the title, which I added and treated like an invisible color.
The distinction between title and work is a prelude to
the separation of the idea and the work,
which then leads to
the identification of the idea as the work
— which is Duchamp’s revolutionary contribution to the philosophy of art.
Baptism is a form of naming.
With the readymade, Duchamp will focus on the moment the artist names the work, as the moment the work becomes a work of art.
The artist baptizes the readymade to transform it from an ordinary everyday object into a work of art.
This much is true:
A good title should transform the work.