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In carrying out this reconstruction of The Large Glass, Richard Hamilton deliberately avoided making a copy that acknowledged its fifty years of ageing and deterioration. Instead he set out to make it as it was conceived, accepting that it would similarly change to some extent with the passage of time. Rather than simply working from photographs of the completed work, Hamilton used the notes and drawings of The Green Box to closely follow Duchamp’s original process of creation. By doing this, thirteen years of work were compressed into nearly as many months. As Hamilton recalled after finishing the project, ‘mental effort was exerted only in the direction of detective work, deductions from signs marking a path to be followed – the creative anguish was erased from the trail’. When Duchamp came to London for the opening of his exhibition in 1966, he agreed to sign the reconstruction and the four glass studies produced by Hamilton, inscribing on the back ‘pour copie conforme’ (‘for a faithful replica’).

June 2010