3D-Print Your Own Readymade Copy of Marcel Duchamp’s Chess Set

Arnold Rosenberg, Marcel Duchamp playing chess on a sheet of Glass (1958).
Arnold Rosenberg, Marcel Duchamp playing chess on a sheet of Glass (1958).

Marcel Duchamp redefined the word “art” with his Readymades. Now, nearly 100 years later, artists Bryan Cera and Scott Kildall have made it possible to reproduce one of the conceptual artist’s personal belongings, on demand, through the magic of 3D printing, reports JS Online.

Though he is best known for his groundbreaking artwork, Duchamp was also an avid chess player (if you’re curious, there’s a book, Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess). Shortly after debuting The Fountain in 1917, Duchamp fled the New York art scene for Buenos Aires, where he developed a passion for the game. He even went so far as to carve his own set, with the help of a local craftsman.

A 3D-printed replica of Marcel Duchamp's chess set produced using <em>Readymake: Duchamp Chess Set</em>, a design created by Scott Kildall and Bryan Cera. Photo: Pete Prodoehl,  via JS Online.

A 3D-printed replica of Marcel Duchamp’s chess set produced using Readymake: Duchamp Chess Set, a design created by Scott Kildall and Bryan Cera. Photo: Pete Prodoehl, via JS Online.

That handmade object has since been lost, but Cera and Kildall were able to resurrect it by creating computer-generated 3D models of each piece based on photographic records. Readymake: Duchamp Chess Set allows anyone to create their own version of a highly personalized object belonging to the late artist, which seems to be a fitting tribute to Duchamp’s life and career.

“The readymake brings the concept of the appropriated object to the realm of the internet, exploring the web’s potential to re-frame information and data, and their reciprocal relationships to matter and ideas,” reads the artists’ statement.

Readymake is available for download on design sharing website Thiniverse, so as long as you’re equipped with or have access to a 3D printer of your own, you can quickly produce your own Duchamp chess set from fast-setting molten plastic.


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