In the 'Nude Descending a Staircase,' I wanted to create a static image of movement: movement is an abstraction, a deduction articulated within the painting, without our knowing if a real person is or isn't descending an equally real staircase.
There was an incident, in 1912, which 'gave me a turn,' so to speak: when I brought the 'Nude Descending a Staircase' to the Independants, and they asked me to withdraw it before the opening.
The word 'art' interests me very much. If it comes from Sanskrit, as I've heard, it signifies 'making.' Now everyone makes something, and those who make things on a canvas with a frame, they're called artists. Formerly, they were called craftsmen, a term I prefer. We're all craftsmen, in civilian or military or artistic life.
I am still a victim of chess. It has all the beauty of art - and much more. It cannot be commercialized. Chess is much purer than art in its social position.
The individual - man as a man, man as a brain, if you like - interests me more than what he makes because I've noticed that most artists only repeat themselves.
When I put a bicycle wheel on a stool, the fork down, there was no idea of a 'ready-made' or anything else. It was just a distraction. I didn't have any special reason to do it, or any intention of showing it or describing anything.
I haven't been in the Louvre for twenty years. It doesn't interest me because I have these doubts about the value of the judgments which decided that all these pictures should be presented to the Louvre instead of others which weren't even considered.
Painter after painter, since the beginning of the century, has tended toward abstraction. First, the Impressionists simplified the landscape in terms of color, and then the Fauves simplified it again by adding distortion, which, for some reason, is a characteristic of our century.
I didn't abandon everything at a moment's notice - on the contrary. I returned to France from America, leaving the 'Large Glass' unfinished.
A game of chess is a visual and plastic thing, and if it isn't geometric in the static sense of the word, it is mechanical, since it moves. It's a drawing; it's a mechanical reality.
Art is a habit-forming drug. Art has absolutely no existence as veracity, as truth. People always speak of it with this great, religious reverence, but why should it be so revered?
All painting, beginning with Impressionism, is antiscientific, even Seurat. I was interested in introducing the precise and exact aspect of science, which hadn't often been done, or at least hadn't been talked about very much.
Artists of all times are like the gamblers of Monte Carlo, and this blind lottery allows some to succeed and ruins others. In my opinion, neither the winners nor the losers are worth worrying about.
Gravity is not controlled physically in us by one of the 5 ordinary senses. We always reduce a gravity experience to an autocognizance, real or imagined, registered inside us in the region of the stomach.
Humor and laughter - not necessarily derogatory derision - are my pet tools. This may come from my general philosophy of never taking the world too seriously - for fear of dying of boredom.
'Art or anti-art?' was the question I asked when I returned from Munich in 1912 and decided to abandon pure painting or painting for its own sake. I thought of introducing elements alien to painting as the only way out of a pictorial and chromatic dead end.
I became a librarian at the Sainte-Genevieve Library in Paris. I made this gesture to rid myself of a certain milieu, a certain attitude, to have a clean conscience, but also to make a living. I was twenty-five. I had been told that one must make a living, and I believed it.
I couldn't go into the haphazard drawing or the paintings, the splashing of paint. I wanted to go back to a completely dry drawing, a dry conception of art.
I like living, breathing better than working... Each second, each breath is a work which is inscribed nowhere, which is neither visual nor cerebral. It's a kind of constant euphoria.
If only America would realize that the art of Europe is finished - dead - and that America is the country of the art of the future, instead of trying to base everything she does on European traditions!