A l’Heure de l’observatoire: Les amoureux, Man Ray 1932-1934
For the color, Nothingness;
Fearful it shares shade
With the tint, Indifference;
Found standing beside — No More
“For in the end, it is all about memory, its sources and its magnitude, and, of course, its consequences.”
― Elie Wiesel, Night Desert
Video — “Man Ray — The Lovers”
When I think of Man Ray, several things immediately come to mind, his relationship with photographer, Lee Miller and his iconic painting, A l’Heure de l’observatoire: Les amoureux, (Observatory Time: The Lovers ).
In 1935 Man Ray wrote the following about the floating lips:
“It is at seven in the morning, before satisfying an imaginary hunger — the sun not yet decided whether to rise or to set — that your mouth comes to replace all these indecisions. Sole reality validating the dream, resisting awakening, it stays suspended in the void, between two bodies.
“It becomes two bodies, separated by a slender, undulating horizon. Like the earth and the sky, like you and me, as so like everything down to microscopic objects, invisible to the eye. The eye itself becomes invisible, just as everything that is too near, like everything that is too far becomes invisible. But your mouth that can come closer without losing anything, which makes itself felt more by coming close up to the intensity of contact, has no need to see. Nor need of light, the astronomical accomplice of time. Now time must go back to see things clearly, but your mouth does not tolerate removal, which stops it from seeing.
“No matter that I become blind — liberated from all concern with appearances, touch and speech will be my strengths. One can close one’s eyes in order not to see — one cannot stop oneself from feeling when one is touched nor from hearing when spoken to. Were it only the finger placed on it to stop it talking, the silent mouth must touch.
“Lips of sun, you attract me ceaselessly, and in this moment before wakening, when I detach myself from my body — I am weightless — I join you again in the neutral light and in the empty space, and sole reality, I kiss you with all that still remains of me: my own lips.”