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60 in. x 36 in. x 24 in.

Currently in the collection of the Artist

“In 1913,” recalled Marcel Duchamp, “I had the happy idea to fasten a bicycle wheel to a kitchen stool and watch it turn.”


The Duchampian Motor (1997) is not a motorized bicycle wheel. It is a motor which uses a bicycle wheel as its armature.

 “I enjoyed looking at it, just as I enjoy looking at flames dancing in a fireplace.”  Marcel Duchamp


A hundred years ago Marcel Duchamp said this about a spinning bicycle wheel that he mounted on a stool.  His Bicycle Wheel, is said to be the first kinetic sculpture. A few years later he decided Bicycle Wheel was a readymade, a found object which he chose and presented as art.

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How Does It work?


Duchampian Motor is not a motorized bicycle wheel. It is, itself, an actual electric motor that has a bicycle wheel as its armature.


The wheel has 18 small, round, red magnets attached to its rim. A small coil of copper wire is mounted on the frame, near the magnet, so that it pushes against (repels) each magnet at the moment that the coil becomes energized, and it becomes energized only when the tip of the little red wire touches a spoke on the wheel to completing an electrical circuit.


The timing of the piece is such that the red wire touches one of the spokes at the moment that one of the moving magnets reaches a position near the coil. The magnetic field of the energized coil momentarily tries to push away (repel) that magnet, causing the wheel to move. This activity repeats itself as each of the magnets passes next to the coil. This causes the wheel to slowly turn.


Duchampian Motor has been exhibited at:

The Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

The Technorama Museum, Winterthur, Switzerland

phaeno, Wolfsburg, Germany.

Parque de las Ciecias, Granada, Spain

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