Duchamp, Marcel. À L’Infinitif (The White Box). New York: Cordier & Ekstrom. 1966.
This book is the third and final volume in a series of artist’s books that Marcel Duchamp made in connection with his famous work The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) (1915-23). The first book, The Box of 1914, consisted of a box of facsimiles of notes Duchamp made while planning The Large Glass. The second book, published in 1934 after The Large Glass was shattered in transit after its first exhibition and called The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The Green Box), contained facsimiles of documents relating to the actual making of The Large Glass.
This book, À L’Infinitif (The White Box), features an additional seventy-nine facsimiles of notes Duchamp made relating to The Large Glass but which were left out of The Green Box. These facsimiles are housed in seven black paper folders each of which has a specific theme: Speculations, Dictionaries and Atlases, Color, Further References to The Glass, Appearance and Apparition, Perspective, and The Continuum. The facsimiles are painstakingly accurate: they include straight pins and cellophane tape for those notes that were found pinned or taped together.
Corresponding to ideas on book design held by French poet Stéphane Mallarmé, the loose organization of the information in The White Box allows viewers to read Duchamp’s notes in an order of the reader’s choosing, or in no particular order at all. By withholding authorial ordering of information, this book and by facilitating an aleatory process, Duchamp encourages readers to engage actively in the process of reading and to create their own understanding of the material.
Also included is a pamphlet-stitched booklet with English language transcriptions of all of the facsimiles which were prepared by by Cleve Gray in collaboration with Duchamp. The covers of the booklet reproduce photographs of Duchamp designing The White Box.
These items are all housed in a white box with a clear plexiglass cover and cloth-covered back cover that is printed with the title. Within the plexiglass cover is an original silkscreen print on vinyl signed, dated, and numbered by Duchamp. This copy is numbered 119 out of 120. It is signed twice by Marcel Duchamp – once on the screenprint and once on the title page of the accompanying booklet.
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