Maier, Charlotte Jean
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Dada artist Suzanne Duchamp created paintings from 1916-22 that stylistically resemble the machine aesthetic of her male colleagues. However, Duchamp’s use of the mechanical adds a distinct and unexplored dimension to the machine aesthetic, one that is largely unconsidered in Dada literature. Scholarship primarily characterizes the machine aesthetic with an impersonal, masculinized perspective, one that depicts individuals as machines in order to convey mindless and libidinous communication. More than mere examples of operative, unconscious, or libidinous systems that are typical in the mechanized works of Marcel Duchamp or Francis Picabia, however, Suzanne Duchamp’s mechanomorphic figures offer a different interpretation through the transmission of self-reflection, thoughtfulness, and intellect. By comparing her personal and communicative mechanomorphs with those of her male colleagues, I will argue that machine aesthetic needs redefining to include the interesting, complex, and underestimated works of Suzanne Duchamp.