Gandhi’s Receiving Room


The Receiving Room, watercolor on paper, 5 x 7 in. 1991
The Receiving Room, watercolor on paper, 5 x 7 in. 1991

When I visited the home of Mahatma Gandhi near Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where he sat and worked and met heads of state; I was moved to make this miniature painting of the receiving room. I wanted to be present there with him in the painting, so I chose Marcel Duchamp’s readymade Bicycle Wheel 1913 as my avatar.

The Receiving Room. Photo Dr. Unni
The Receiving Room. Photo Dr. Unni

 

In his studio Duchamp mounted a bicycle wheel upside down onto a stool, spinning it occasionally just to watch it. Although it is often assumed that theBicycle Wheel represents the first of Duchamp’s “Readymades”, this particular installation was never submitted for any art exhibition, and it was eventually lost. However, initially, the wheel was simply placed in the studio to create atmosphere: “I enjoyed looking at it just as I enjoy looking at the flames dancing in a fireplace.”

Why so glum Mr Duchamp.
Why so glum Mr Duchamp?

I guess the one in the readymade in the window just isn’t the same, bummer. On another note, here  is another readymade reference in a drawing I did while doing my general military training in Petawawa, in the summer of 1977 just after graduating from The Ontario College of Art.

Plato's little readymades, ink on paper, 14 x 11 in., 1977
Plato’s little readymades, ink on paper, 14 x 11 in., 1977

 

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