|The subtitle refers
quite obviously to two sources of energy. The water
fall on one hand - as water only produces energy when it falls
- and the lightning gas on the other.
These two sources of energy are considered in French as strongly incompatible, which is reflected in the French expression - used when things threaten to go wrong - "il y a de l'eau dans le gaz".
From there it is hence possible to infer that, most probably, something related to the inadequacy of something to something else is shown in the Large Glass.
And quite probably too, one may assume that Duchamp wants to elaborate about this primary and quite disappointing inadequacy that Lacan meant when he used to say: "il n'y a pas de rapport sexuel". And the Large Glass may also be interpreted this way.
But then it is by no way less legitimate to interpret the Large Glass as saying something about the inadequacy of knowledge with regard to reality.
Since after all, the water fall is also a metaphor of time as it passes, and time has been at the first rank - and from the very beginning to the very end - of Duchamp's fundamental preoccupations. The water fall is an image of what moves the world. And what might ever move the world better than time ?
And this lightning gas - quite precisely - brings light - as does Lucifer in the best sense of the word. It is a lightning gas, which enables seeing. And certainly it is a fundamental question for a painter to wonder about what enables seeing. Not so many of them raise this question. But Duchamp did it. And in a way, maybe he never did anything else
Because he comes after
the Impressionists, Duchamp - who is actually
a painter - is quite aware of the fact that light and color do not say
anything really essential with regard to vision.
Because he came after the Cubists, Duchamp was born
as a painter, from this intuition that when moving a video camera around
an object, you may well gather enough information to rebuild almost any
aspect of this object, to rebuild it "in 3D" as we now say.
This is why the title of postface of Arturo Schwarz's book is "La Pendule de Profil".