L.H.O.O.Q. (1919) is a work of art by Marcel Duchamp.
The work is one of what Duchamp referred to as readymades, or more specifically a rectified ready-made. The readymade involves taking mundane, often utilitarian objects not generally considered to be art and transforming them, by adding to them, changing them, or (as in the case of his most famous work Fountain) simply renaming them and placing them in a gallery setting.
In L.H.O.O.Q. the “objet trouvé” (found object) is a cheap postcard reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa onto which Duchamp drew a moustache and beard in pencil and appended the title.
In a course of Theory of design at Iuav students were asked to think about this Duchamp’s provocation of Mona Lisa and to go ahead and to propose an architectural thought starting from the original painting by Da Vinci.
- ”Impress us!”, the professors said
by Marcel Duchamp.
The Louvre Museum, Paris, France
For the purpose I’ve created a series of drawings explaining my thought.
In the first drawing I totaly deleted the main element of the painting - Mona Lisa's face, so she had lost her personality and uniqueness. And then I completely changed the background placing Mona Lisa between todays architecture.
Then I thought about where the painting is located today - at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
So I overlaped only the contour of the woman on the museum plan and scalated.
I found a beautifull picture of a sun ray entering through the structure into the pyramid of glass, that is also the newest part of the Louvre Museum, and I though - “And what would happen if the light instead of entering inside, would go out from the glass pyramid illuminating every edge of building parts and the painting overlaped?”
And what if I would also rotate all this to 90 degrees?
This is just another provocation.
Doing all this it is always easier to see some shapes that can be seen as a perspective of a materiality, of something permanent, of a building.
It can be a museum, it can be a house, it can be architecture.
And all this because of a provocation, because of the shadows, because of the light.
"The light is the best architect of the shadows”
I then created a model to understand better how this architectural shape could evolve in all the dimensions, starting from a flat sketch.