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To make this work, Duchamp filled a small wire birdcage with blocks of white marble cut to the same dimensions as sugar cubes. Rose Sélavy is a pun on Eros c'est la vie ('love is life'), and sneezing may be a coded reference to orgasm, making the title a sexual invitation. However, the thermometer, the cold marble, and the whiteness of the cage and cuttlebone all suggest frigidity. The birdcage is a symbol of confinement, and perhaps suggests the suppression of erotic climax.

March 2003