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In the 1950s, Duchamp made a small number of moulded objects, based on male and female genitalia. They exemplify his fascination with sexual ambiguity. In this sculpture, the metal ‘wedge’ and the pink plastic slit-form can be seen as expressing male-female, inside-outside dualities in union. Duchamp made the original version in 1954 as a wedding present for his second wife. It is reported that the couple kept it displayed on a bedside table and travelled with it, ‘like a wedding ring’.

May 2010