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The Nine Malic Moulds are part of


Dew Harrison'sproject:



which is based on The LargeGlass

by Marcel Duchamp(1887-1968):

 There were nine of them. ... at first I thought of eight and I thought, that's not a multiple of three. I added one, which made nine.  There were nine "Malic Moulds". How did they come?  I did a drawing, in 1913, in which there were eight - the ninth wasn't yet there. It came six months later.    The idea is amusing because they are moulds. And to mould what?  Gas.  That is, gas is introduced into the moulds, where it takes the shape of the soldier, the department-store delivery boy, the cuirassier, the policeman, the priest, the station master, etc., which are inscribed on my drawing.  Each is built on a common horizontal plane, where lines intersect at the point of their sex.    All that helped me realize the glass entitled "Nine Malic Moulds", which was made in 1914-1915. The mould side is invisible.  I always avoided doing something tangible, but with a mould it doesn't matter, because it's the inside I didn't want to show.    The "Nine Malic Moulds"  were done in lead; they are not painted, they are each waiting to be given a color.  I denied myself the use of color:  lead is a color without being one. This is the kind of thing I was working on at that time.   [from Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp, 1966 interview with Pierre Cabanne, Plenum (Da Capo) (1971, 1987) at pages 48-49] 
 In the RGB color system based on Red, Green, and Blue, there are 3 primary colors and 3x3 = 9 pairs of primaries.  If each of the 9 Malic Moulds received one of the 9 pairs, there would be: 1 Malic Mould with each color Red = RR, Green = GG, and Blue = BB; and 2 Malic Moulds with each color Cyan = BG = GB, Magenta = RB = BR, and Yellow = RG = GR  If you considered only the original 8 Malic Moulds, you could assign to each of them the 3+3+2=8 colors: Red, Blue, Green, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, White  Then, the 9th Malic Mould would be have the same color as one of the original 8.  
 In October 1913 Duchamp started a general plan perspective of The Large Glass. After he placed the Chocolate Grinder and the Glider (also called Chariot or Sleigh), he placed the Malic Moulds. He added the Ninth Mould around December 1913 - February 1914. In the first half of 1914, he began operating on the perspectiving of the 9 Capillary tubes so that each tube would meet the head of one Malic Mould.  [from Marcel Duchamp, Holden, ed., MIT 1993: 24 Aug 63]
To make the Reseaux des Stoppages perspective plan, Duchamp took a 1-meter thread and dropped it horizontally 3 times from a height of 1 meter, creating 3 Stoppages Etalon. He then used each of them 3 times to make the 9 Capillary tubes Duchamp then drew the plan on an unfinished canvas of Jeune Homme et juene Fille dans le Printemps.  To show how things fit together, he put it beneath a perspective of The Large Glass.  He showed the final position of each of the 9 Malic Moulds as a numbered circle on the Reseaux des Stoppages.   [from Marcel Duchamp, Holden, ed., MIT 1993: 19 May 14] 
 The plane of the first 8 Malic Moulds is shown in  


the Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries, No. 1, 1913.   Duchamp said of the first 8 Malic Moulds:   By eros' matrix, we understand the group of 8 uniforms or hollow liveries destined to receive the illuminating gas which takes 8 malic forms (gendarme, cuirassier, etc.)   The gas castings so obtained, would hear the litanies sung by the chariot, refrain of the whole celibate machine.  But they will never be able to pass beyond the Mask = They would have been as if enveloped, alongside their regrets, by a mirror reflecting back to them their own complexity to the point of their being hallucinated rather onanistically. (Cemetery of 8 uniforms or liveries)    Each of the 8 malic forms is built above and below a common horizontal plane, the plane of sex cutting them at the point of sex.  (refer to figure)    or Each of the 8 malic forms is cut by an imaginary horizontal plane at a pnt. called the pnt. of sex. A  Each malic form terminates at the head in 3 capillary tubes, the 24 therefore were supposed to cut the gas in bits and would have led it to disguise itself as 24 fine solid needles so that they will become when reunited once again in the 2 demisiphons, a fog made of a thousand spangles of frosty gas. B  At the head, [at the summit], of each malic mould 3 capillary tubes, 24 in all, to cut the gas in bits, to cut the gas in needles already solid, since before becoming an explosive liquid, it takes the form of a fog of frosty spangles of frosty gas, all this by the phenomenon of stretching in the unit of length.    When the 2 demisiphons (letter in fig.) would have been filled with the fog of spangles which are lighter than air, the operation of the liquification of the gas began through the sieve and the horizontal filter:  each spangle of solid gas strives (in a kind of spangle derby) to pass the holes of the sieve with elan, reacting already to the suction of the pump.     [from The Writings of Marcel Duchamp, Sanouillet and Peterson, eds, Plenum (Da Capo) (1973 at pages 51-53] 
 The 9th Malic Mould was shown in
Studies for the Bachelors, Station-Master, 1913. 
 The common horizontal plane of the Malic Moulds is parallel to the planes of the top and bottom of the Glider.
 There is a 1-to-1 correspondence between the 9 Malic Moulds and the 9 Shots. The 9 Malic Moulds are in the bottom left of The Large Glass, while the 9 Shots are diagonally opposite in the top right.  In 1958, Stauffer asked Duchamp whether the patterns of positions of the 9 Malic Moulds and of the 9 Shots were identical. Duchamp said NO, that the position of the 9 Malic Moulds depended on the limitations of the defined surface (the crown of each Malic Mould already connected to the Reseaux des Stoppages) and also on the careful placing of them in perspective preventing one form from hiding another. The position of the 9 Shots was a question of dexterity - shooting 9 painted matches with a toy cannon 3 shots at each of 3 targets.  [from Marcel Duchamp, Holden, ed., MIT 1993: 17 Apr 1958] 

This page is part of


DewHarrison's project:








THE BRIDE'S DOMAIN (upper half of the Glass):

THE BACHELOR APPARATUS (lower half of the Glass):

 References and sources of scanned images:    Marcel Duchamp, Moure, Rizzoli (1988);   The Definitively Unfinished Marcel Duchamp, de Duve (ed), MIT Press (1991); Marcel Duchamp, Hulten (ed), MIT Press (1993); and  Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp, 1966 interview with Pierre Cabanne, Plenum (Da Capo) (1971, 1987).   If you would like to see the large jpg image of the 9 Malic Moulds from which the above gif was taken, and other images of the art of Duchamp and other artists, you can go to the Museum of Art.   Tim K has wonderful Duchamp pages.   
 If you have any suggestions about this page, please send them to me by e-mail sent to 

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