Seven Small Citizens 1, 2013
The 7 year-old Marcel Duchamp might have made the original drawings at some point in the mid 1890s. Soldiers in file and in profile; it looks as though the child’s enthusiasm for detail started to flag after the first two in the line – from whence they begin to divest themselves of their marshal appearance. The final pair seems to be barely old enough to wear uniforms – let alone getting themselves into them. My drawings show them in two lines, filing past one-another. In the second version (the soldiers seem to be marching through a puddle. (Seven Small Citizens no. 2)
I had to re-learn how to draw as I did in the 1950s when I was that age and so I re-taught myself by drawing with my left hand. I like the way the symmetrical overlap in the middle of each drawing turns the central figures outwards to confront the viewer in what seems to be a surprising gender transformation.