The Duchamp Dictionary is, rather than a dictionary in the truest sense, an inspirational way to explore the artist’s life, work and influences.
It’s been beautifully designed by Therese Vandling and Luke Frost of Heretic who have worked with a peach, pink, red and blue palette.
There are 200 ‘jargon-free’ entries, presented alphabetically on the most interesting and important artworks, people and ideas in Duchamp’s life.
Entries cover the likes of art market, boredom, breasts, cheese, chess, Dada, death, drugs, eroticism, Man Ray, nude descending, smoking, surrealism, vanity and X-Ray – which is here proven to be a genuine influence on his work, rather than a ubiquitous filler category as with many other A-Zs.
Heretic has created some stunning graphics and collages as introductory pages for each letter of the dictionary, which are in their own way homages to the work of the great man.
Overall it gives the impression of a lovingly compiled and terribly painstaking design, which is also effective as it’s so easy to use.
Duchamp quotes for instance are highlighted in a soft pink throughout, so they jump out of the text.
Here he is on luck: ‘I have had an absolutely wonderful life, an intensive lust for life… I had luck, fantastic luck! Not a day without eating, and I have never been rich either. Everything turned out well.’
The book has been written by Thomas Girst, an expert on Duchamp and also head of cultural engagement at the BMW Group.
Girst levels on the dictionary form itself in his introduction explaining how it has been an inspiration to artists and writers from Flaubert to the Surrealists.
The Duchamp Dictionary is published by Thames & Hudson and is priced £16.95.