During last week, I took the family to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. While the Museum has a lot of interesting work on display, I was particularly interested in one piece which I had read about in a book by Lewis Hyde, entitled Trickster Makes This World. It is a work by Marcel Duchamp entitled “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors”, or “The Large Glass”. It is indeed, a large work between sheets of glass, supported by a metal border and a piece of metal which almost looks like the hinge of a window pane running through the bottom third of the piece. In the upper panel suspends the bride, the lower contains the bachelors.
According to Hyde, Duchamp wrote that “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors” was a “delay in glass”. The Bride still retains an infinite number of possiblities for her life, standing on the hinge between desire and fulfillment. Fulfillment has its advantages, to be sure, but it also has it’s drawbacks; fulfillment weds us to a choice, and choices both define and place limitations on the future. Duchamp is not necessarily stating, “never chose”; as Hyde states, “a ‘delay’ both suspends but not suspends activity.” The action will continue, the choice will be made. However, Duchamp shares this moment with the viewer as if to say, “we are all brides sitting on the hinge of possibility.” Regardless of choices we have made, or how we view ourselves — or how others view us — right now, at this moment, we still have infinite possibilities in front of us.
I find that those times I feel at my lowest is when I feel I have no choice, or that something is totally out of my control. And yet, even during those times, if I take a moment, I do see that I have choices and there are possibilities (even if most of those possibilities simply involve changing how I feel about the situation). When I sit, like that bride, on the hinge of possibility, eyes not filled with dreamy stars but clear and bright, my fear subsides and I make a decision with calm and confidence.
Every New Year is a time for both reflection and resolution. Whether you are making resolutions for yourself or for your business, recognize that possibilities before you are perhaps greater than you might initially realize. Be that bride on a hinge, stay suspended there for a moment and take wonder in the possibilities that are actually available to you.