Variations of chess

yoko ono chessIn an exhibit on Yoko Ono’s work I came across her project PLAY IT BY TRUST aka WHITE CHESS from 1966. It was implemented in different ways and places, but always invited the audience  to sit down for a game of chess with all white pieces. The instructions read something like “Play a game of chess as long as you can remember where all your pieces are“.

You can imagine the implications – it robs the game of its purpose, but poses questions that go far beyond a mere oversimplification.

Spice ChessAt the same time Takako Saito, another Japanese artist, created a series of artistically modified chess games referred to as Fluxchess including Spice Chess, Sound Chess, Weight Chess, and Smell Chess. All of these need to be played by relying on other senses than your eyesight.

The game of chess is a recurring motif in the art world, most prominently used by  Marcel Duchamp who said he was “a victim of chess. It has all the beauty of art – and much more. It cannot be commercialized. Chess is much purer than art in its social position.

Further examples of an obvious impact of chess on the arts can be found here.








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