The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even is an enigmatic work of art.
What exactly is The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even?
There is the construction of that title: two glass panels set one above the other, over nine feet (2.75 metres) tall, and freestanding. Impressive in scale, it is at first sight baffling in iconograhy and unclassifiable style.
The painting The Bride (1912), who already possessed a partially mechanized form, is now situated in an aerial environment in the upper half of the Large Glass. A thread-like shape trails up from her ‘body’ towards the top of the glass, where it is hooked to the top ‘bar’. The long ‘feeler’ stretching downwards does not touch the dividing barrier between her domain and that of the Bachelors.
She is described as Pendu femelle (the ‘Hanged Man’ of the Tarot cards rendered female). Another component was sketched but not finally realized: a suspended filament of a gas lamp, to be linked to the Sex Cylinder (Wasp). Part of this moved in air currents, which connects it with the Pistons de courant d’air [=Draught Pistons].
These Draught Pistons were generated by chance; in the final work, they are the ’empty’ distorted squares enclosed in what Duchamp described as a “kind of milky way flesh colour”, which emanates like plasma from the Bride.