Looking through Duchamp’s Door
Art and Perspective in the Work of Duchamp, Sugimoto, Jeff wall
Walther König, Köln, 2010
In this new book by Hans Belting, three monographic essays are united by one common problematic – the need for perspective after the end of perspective in modern art. Hans Belting not only opens up new ways of looking at the works of Marcel Duchamp, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Jeff Wall, but also deals with the concept of perspective in their work. The door that Marcel Duchamp installed in Philadelphia is a metaphor for a brilliant strategy that redirects the worn out view of perspective back to ones self. Hiroshi Sugimoto and Jeff Wall, two protagonists of photography in contemporary art, both looked through this door as they became artists and have both referenced Duchamp time and again. Beltings analysis and surprising discoveries also open up a new way of looking at Duchamp-a lifelong experiment, in which art, in the name of perspective, is freely negotiated with the viewer. It was a bout of seasickness on a trip to Buenos Aires that gave Duchamp the impulse for his highly original reflection on horizon, perspective and gravity. Hans Beltings very knowledgeable and coherent reasoning makes for a highly captivating book, embellished with 79 illustrations to help lead the reader through the pictorial art of perspective.