The Sieves

Richard Hamilton

London, England, 1922 - 2011

Marcel Duchamp

Blainville-Crevon, France, 1887 - Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, 1968
  • Date: 
  • Material: 
    Glass, ink and aluminium sheet
  • Technique: 
    Silk screen print on laminated glass
  • Descriptive technique: 
    A Richard Hamilton work from a detail of "Le Grand verre" by Marcel Duchamp, which Hamilton reconstructed between 1965 and 1966
  • Dimensions: 
    48,5 x 61 x 1 cm / Base: 61,2 x 20 cm
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  • Donation of Richard Hamilton (in memory of Mr. Ernest Percy Donagh), 2009

Richard Hamilton’s work on the interpretation and reformulation of Marcel Duchamp pieces in the 1960’s and 1970’s led to the publication, in 1960, of The Green Book, and to the reconstruction, between 1965 and 1966, of La Mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même (1915-1923), also known as Le Grand Verre. In this work, Duchamp brought together all his plastic explorations of the dynamic between the sexes, using mechanical iconography with very complex symbolic workings. Richard Hamilton’s Sieves presents the seven sieves from the lower half of Le Grand Verre, alongside the male figures of the scene, as one of the elements that link the bachelors to the bride through a mechanism related to the sexual impulse. The screen-print on glass of the sieves isolates a single element that gives the scene in Le Grand Verre its illusion of actual movement, referencing the sexual act itself or the power of sexual desire as an energy that can move all the machinery. The sieves, joined together to form a semi-circular curve, would collect the gas or liquid, representing the bachelors’ desire, according to the notes that Duchamp himself wrote for La Boîte verte: “Cones of elastic metal, like udders, which allow the erotic liquid to pass through, drop by drop, and fall towards the warm chamber above the surface of the slow slide in order to impregnate it with the oxygen needed for the explosion".

Carmen Fernández Aparicio