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Anti-Aesthetics in Art

            Anti-Aesthetics is the process of negating the incorporation of critical engagement and aesthetic pleasure in artworks while deeming the use of those elements as fundamentally irreconcilable[ CITATION Mey04 l 3081 ]. This essay contextualizes Marcel Duchamp's Etant Donne's (1946-1966) to Man Ray's Le Violin d'Ingres (1924), both of whom are modernist practitioners, in relation to the Modernist concept of the Anti-Aesthetic. The essay will describe the aesthetics of the artwork, provide a comparison and contrast for the two artworks in relation to Anti-Aesthetics.
             Etant Donnes by Marcel Duchamp is an interactive sculpture where viewers firstly face a rustic and antiquated looking wooden door (figure 1) with a peephole (figure 2) in an empty room within the Philadelphia museum. Viewers are encouraged to look through the peephole which reveals a brightly illuminated tableau of a naked woman set in a sunny distant hilly nature scene with her head hidden and her body sprawled in an awkward and confronting position as she lays on her back on a pile of straw and leaves with her only visible hand holding a burning gas lamp (figure 3). The hilly and forest-like landscape overthrows calm pond and endless blue sky, dotted by soft white clouds. To the right a waterfall gently flows. The view is seen through a deliberately made hole which gives a feeling of distance and looking into another world (figure 4). The backgrounds immaculate nature alienates the motionless and confronting body while the only moving thing is the shining bright light from the lonesome lamp. The scene is lifelike yet still strangely unreal[ CITATION DHa69 l 3081 ]. .
             Le Violin d'Ingres (figure 5) by Man Ray is a monochromatic photograph of a woman with a violin shaped body with f holes painted on her back to resemble a string instrument. As Kirsten Hoving Powell stated "[Man Ray] offered an alternative for considering qualities that did not fit that tradition: the deformed, the distorted, the dominated, the fragmented and the hallucinatory".

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