Exposed to The Light

The Age of Bronze, Eugène Druet, Circa 1898

 

Serendipity can sometimes play a major role in artistic creation. Such was the case in this photograph of The Age of Bronze , taken by Eugène Druet in 1898.

One day, the photographer came across an effect now known as “solarization”. If a chlorobromide paper is exposed to the light while it is being developed in the darkroom (which may happen when the door is inadvertently opened), parts of the image will come out negative. As a result of this effect, The Age of Bronze seems to be weightless here. Druet, encouraged by Rodin, adopted and attempted to master the process by producing a dozen or so variations, each one with a different degree of solarization.

In the 20th century, solarization would be used as a technique and a means of photographic expression by artists such as Man Ray,Edward Steichen and Maurice Tabard.

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This Species of Sunflower

Cette espèce d’hélianthe, Man Ray, 1934.

This photograph was used by Breton to illustrate his book Le Amour Fou (Mad Love)

 
 

TOURNESOL

“La voyageuse qui traverse les Halles à la tombée de l’été

Marchait sur la pointe des pieds

Le désespoir roulait au ciel ses grands arums si beaux

Et dans le sac à main il y avait mon rêve ce flacon de sels

Que seule a respiré la marraine de Dieu

Les torpeurs se déployaient comme la buée

Au Chien qui fume

Ou venaient d’entrer le pour et le contre

La jeune femme ne pouvait être vue d’eux que mal et de biais

Avais-je affaire à l’ambassadrice du salpêtre

Ou de la courbe blanche sur fond noir que nous appelons pensée

Les lampions prenaient feu lentement dans les marronniers

La dame sans ombre s’agenouilla sur le Pont-au-Change

Rue Git-le-Coeur les timbres n’étaient plus les mêmes

Les promesses de nuits étaient enfin tenues

Les pigeons voyageurs les baisers de secours

Se joignaient aux seins de la belle inconnue

Dardés sous le crêpe des significations parfaites

Une ferme prospérait en plein Paris

Et ses fenêtres donnaient sur la voie lactée

Mais personne ne l’habitait encore à cause des survenants

Des survenants qu’on sait plus dévoués que les revenants

Les uns comme cette femme ont l’air de nager

Et dans l’amour il entre un peu de leur substance

Elle les intériorise

Je ne suis le jouet d’aucune puissance sensorielle

Et pourtant le grillon qui chantait dans les cheveux de cendres

Un soir près de la statue d’Etienne Marcel

M’a jeté un coup d’oeil d’intelligence

André Breton a-t-il dit passe”

André Breton

L’Amour Fou, 1937.

 
 

___________________________________

 
 

SUNFLOWER

“The traveler who crossed Les Halles at summer’s end

Walked on tiptoe

Despair rolled its great handsome lilies across the sky

And in her handbag was my dream that flask of salts

That only God’s godmother had breathed

Torpors unfurled like mist

At the Chien qui Fume

Where pro and con had just entered

They could hardly see the young woman and then only at an angle

Was I dealing with the ambassadress of saltpeter

Or with the white curve on black background we call thought

The Innocents’ Ball was in full swing

The Chinese lanterns slowly caught fire in chestnut trees

The shadowless lady knelt on the Pont-au-Change

On Rue Gît-le-Coeur the stamps had changed

The night’s promises had been kept at last

The carrier pigeons and emergency kisses

Merged with the beautiful stranger’s breasts

Jutting beneath the crepe of perfect meanings

A farm prospered in the heart of Paris

And its windows looked out on the Milky Way

But no one lived there yet because of the guests

Guests who are known to be more faithful than ghosts

Some like that woman appear to be swimming

And a bit of their substance becomes part of love

She internalizes them

I am the pawn of no sensual power

And yet the cricket singing in the ashen hair

One evening near the statue of Etienne Marcel

Gave me a knowing look

Andre Breton it said go on”

 
 

The woman in Sunflower is Jacqueline Lamba, an artist who was Breton’s second wife.

Lips of Vermouth

“Yes, good folk, it is I who direct you to roast upon a red-hot shovel, with a little brown sugar, the duck of doubt with lips of vermouth, which, in a melancholy struggle between good and evil, shedding crocodile tears, without an air-pump everywhere brings about the universal vacuum. That is the best thing for you to do.”

Comte de Lautréamont
Les Chants de Maldoror (The Songs of Maldoror)

 
 

A l’heure de l’observatoire, les Amoureux (Observatory Time – The Lovers), Man Ray, 1934

 
 

 
 

One of Man Ray’s most memorable paintings, Observatory Time, is featured in this black-and-white photograph taken in 1936, along with a nude. It includes a depiction of the lips of his departed lover, Lee Miller, floating in the sky above the Paris Observatory. In the photograph, the nude is lying on her side on a sofa underneath the painting, with a chessboard at her feet. Observatory Time hints at what the woman might be dreaming: a nightmare or an erotic fantasy.

Observatory TimeThe Lovers, or as it has become more familiarly known, The Lips, has been described as the quintessential Surrealist painting, a supreme example of isomorphism, the use of organic forms oddly and obliquely referring to man, in a kind of fastidious, realistic illusionism – the unifying theme in mainstream Surrealist art in the heyday of the 1930s. Its title exemplifies Gertrude Stein‘s insistence upon embodying “time in the composition”. The canvas was eight feet long and over three feet high, and it took Man Ray two years of meticulous, daily work to get it right.

The Lips relied on a reference central to Surrealist philosophy, the devouring woman. It was the latest in a distinct series of big paintings, stretching back to MCMXIV of the Ridgefield period and The Rope Dancer and anticipating by a half dozen years Le beau temps. Every time Man Ray reached for the dramatic, grand statement in his paintings, he succeeded. The bigger canvases forced him into deliberateness of gesture and drew him away from the slapdash approach that ultimately (permanently, some critics would say) undermined his reputation as a painter.

 
 

 
 

Man Ray’s complete absorption in the task of painting The Lips also enabled him to forget his deepening hatred of photography and to escape into the preferred “high and exacting plane of Surrealist activity.” Surely it is no accident that Lee’s lips in the painting are flying through the air – reveling in sublime height, set in a faint smile, redder than any lipstick-reddened lips could possibly be. Indeed, the color of The Lips is as emancipated as its subject: the woman gone, the woman flown.

 
 

Hattie Carnegie against Man Ray’s painting Observatory Time – The Lovers

 
 

It is not known whether Man Ray was also recalling the evil lips of Maldoror, the “sapphire lips” of Lautreamont’s poem, that satanically lyric work that had made such an enduring impression upon him in his American Dada period. The monumental painting is – like Lautreamont’s poem – truly startling in its impact. Once again, as he had done so often in his photographs, making him the darling of the Surrealist writers, Man Ray set out to reinvent the female anatomy, in much the same manner as one of his earliest exemplars, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. He wanted to prove himself with The Lips, to demonstrate that he could take on a vast terrain and keep control of it. The work figurative, yet mystifying.

A Different Set of Jaws

 
 

The film starts with the screen fading to black and over-sized, disembodied female lips (inspired by the surreal Man Ray painting A l’heure de l’observatoire, les Amoureux) appear overdubbed with a male voice, creating the androgynous theme to be repeated as the film unfolds. The opening scene and song, Science Fiction, Double Feature consists of the lips of Patricia Quinn (who appears in the film later as the character Magenta), but has the vocals of actor and Rocky Horror creator, Richard O’Brien (who appears as Magenta’s brother Riff Raff). The lyrics reference science fiction and horror films of the past and list several film titles from the 1930s to the 1970s, including The Day the Earth Stood Still, Flash Gordon, The Invisible Man, King Kong, It Came from Outer Space, Doctor X, Forbidden Planet, Tarantula, The Day of the Triffids, Curse of the Demon, When Worlds Collide and The Bride of Frankenstein. The disembodied lips are featured on posters and other merchandise for the film, with the tag line “A Different Set of Jaws”, a spoof of the poster for the film Jaws, which was also produced in 1975.

As stated before, the song is made up of fragments from sub-genre horror and science fiction films and likened to that of avant-garde artist Tristan Tzara by author Vera Dika in her book, Recycled Culture in Contemporary Art and Film. Tzara would construct poems by taking snippets of words from newspapers and placing them into a bag to randomly draw from and arrange. Instead, the words in Science Fiction Double Feature are purposely made to rhyme with a set structure and set with phrases that create cohesion.

The original concept of the song for the feature film as indicated in the original script was to have film clips of each movie shown with a scratched aged effect overlay during the song and opening credits. The idea was dropped when it became apparent that the cost of acquiring the rights to these clips in 1974 was far too prohibitive.

 
 

FILMS REFERENCED IN THE LYRICS :

“Michael Rennie was ill the day the earth stood still, but he told us where we stand” (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Robert Wise, 1951)

“And Flash Gordon was there in silver underwear” (Flash Gordon, Frederick Stephani, 1936)

“Claude Rains was the invisible man” (The Invisible Man, James Whale, 1933)

“Then something went wrong for Fay Wray and King Kong, they got caught in a celluloid jam” (King Kong, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1933)

“Then at a deadly pace it came from outer space” (It Came from Outer Space, Jack Arnold, 1953)

“Doctor X will build a creature” (Doctor X, Michael Curtiz, 1932)

“Anne Francis stars in Forbidden Planet” (Forbidden Planet, Fred M. Wilcox, 1956)

“I knew Leo G. Carroll was over a barrel when Tarantula took to the hills” (Tarantula, Jack Arnold, 1955)

“And I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott fight a Triffid that spits poison and kills” (The Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham, 1962)

“Dana Andrews said prunes gave him the runes, and passing them used lots of skills” (Night of the Demon, Jacques Tourneur, 1957)

“But when worlds collide, said George Pal to his bride, I’m gonna give you some terrible thrills” (When Worlds Collide, Rudolph Maté, 1951)

 

To watch the movie clip, please check out The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228

Obsessive Cropping Brought to Layouts

Alexei Brodovitch‘s signature use of white space, his innovation of Bazaar‘s iconic Didot logo, and the cinematic quality that his obsessive cropping brought to layouts (not even the work of Man Ray and Henri Cartier-Bresson was safe from his busy scissors) compelled Truman Capote to write, “What Dom Pérignon was to champagne … so [Brodovitch] has been to … photographic design and editorial layout.”

 
 

The game-changing cover of “Harper’s Bazaar”, featuring Machado as first non caucasian cover model, February 1959. Photo: Richard Avedon. Art direction by Alexey Brodovitch

 
 

Harper’s Bazaar UK. February 2013. Cover star: Anne Hathaway. Photography: David Slijper

The Fine Art of the Red Border

At many points in its almost 91-year history, TIME has offered up its iconic red border as a canvas, and asked renowned artists to illustrate the top stories of the day. From the striking Roy Lichtenstein pop art that accompanied a June 21, 1968 cover story on “The Gun in America” (see below) to Marc Chagall’s self-portrait that began our July 30, 1965 issue, readers have become accustomed to seeing cover images that have been painted, sculpted, collaged and transformed by some of the world’s most visionary talents.

 
 


December 14, 1936: Surrealist Salvador Dali

Artist: Man Ray

 
 

April 12, 1937: Virginia Woolf

Artist: Man Ray

 
 

May 7, 1945: Adolf Hitler

Artist: Boris Artzybasheff

 
 

April 6, 1962: Sophia Loren

Artist: René Bouché

 
 

January 10, 1964: R. Buckminster Fuller

Artist: Boris Artzybasheff

 
 

January 29, 1965, Today’s Teenagers

Artist: Andy Warhol

 
 

March 5, 1965: Jeanne Moreau

Artist: Rufino Tamayo

 
 

March 19, 1965: Martin Luther King

Artist: Ben Shahn

 
 

April 16, 1965: Rudolf Nureyev

Artist: Sidney Nolan

 
 


July 30, 1965: Marc Chagall

Artist: Marc Chagall

 
 

March 3, 1967: Playboy’s Hugh Hefner

Artist: Marisol

 
 

September 22, 1967: The Beatles

Artist: Gerald Scarfe

 
 

December 8, 1967: Bonnie and Clyde

Artist: Robert Rauschenberg

 
 

May 24, 1968:  Robert F. Kennedy

Artist: Roy Lichtenstein

 
 

June 21, 1968:  The Gun in America

Artist: Roy Lichtenstein

 
 

July 11, 1969: The Sex Explosion

Artist: Dennis Wheeler

 
 

November 28, 1969: Raquel Welch

Artist: Frank Gallo

 
 

February 16, 1970: Jane, Henry and Peter: The Flying Fondas

Artist: Andy Warhol

 
 

November 29, 1976: Rauschenberg by Rauschenberg

Artist: Robert Rauschenberg

 
 

March 19, 1984: Michael Jackson

Artist: Andy Warhol

 
 

>March 30, 1987: America’s Agenda

Artist: Robert Rauschenberg

 
 

March 16, 1992: Jay Leno

Artist: Al Hirschfeld

 
 

Source: TIME Turns 90: The Fine Art of the Red Border, from Warhol to Lichtenstein

By: Amy Lombard

Dialogue Between Fashion and Death

Yves Saint Laurent

 
 

YSL Rive Gauche nappa leather platform pump, 2010

 
 

Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane silver skull and leather necklace

 
 

Yohji Yamamoto 1995-1996 Ad campaign photographed by David Sims

 
 

Alexander McQueen Spring Summer 2010 eyewear advertising

 
 

Christian Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano. Autumn-Winter 2000

 
 

Iris van Herpen Capriole Haute Couture AW11

 
 

Dsquared2 Fall 2010

 
 


Reveal The Inner Self, collection of Taiwanese designer Wei Ting Liang for her 3rd year final project, at the Ecole de la Chambre Synidcale de la Couture Parisenne

 
 

Jean Paul Gaultier, Fall Winter Couture collection 2006-2007

 
 

gaultier skeleton 2011Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show, 2011

 
 

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Fall/Winter 20011-2012

 
 

White cotton jacket printed all over with dotted grey skulls wearing light blue sunglasses by Comme Des Garcons Homme Plus, Spring-Summer 2011

 
 

Narciso Rodriguez’s sketch-books

 
 

Vans skulls slip-on shoes

 
 

Christian Audigier, French fashion designer and entrepreneur

 
 

Vivienne Westwood

 
 

GIACOMO LEOPARDI
DIALOGUE BETWEEN FASHION AND DEATH
A CHAPTER FROM OPERA OMNIA (1824)

Translated by Charles Edwardes

FASHION — Madam Death, Madam Death!

DEATH — Wait until your time comes, and then I will appear without being called by you.

FASHION — Madam Death!

DEATH — Go to the devil. I will come when you least expect me.

FASHION — As if I were not immortal!

DEATH — Immortal?

“Already has passed the thousandth year,”

since the age of immortals ended.

FASHION — Madam is as much a Petrarchist as if she were an Italian poet of the fifteenth or eighteenth century.

DEATH — I like Petrarch because he composed my triumph, and because he refers so often to me. But I must be moving.

FASHION — Stay! For the love you bear to the seven cardinal sins, stop a moment and look at me.

DEATH — Well. I am looking.

FASHION — Do you not recognise me?

DEATH — You must know that I have bad sight, and am without spectacles. The English make none to suit me; and if they did, I should not know where to put them.

FASHION — I am Fashion, your sister.

DEATH — My sister?

FASHION — Yes. Do you not remember we are both born of Decay?

DEATH — As if I, who am the chief enemy of Memory, should recollect it!

FASHION — But I do. I know also that we both equally profit by the incessant change and destruction of things here below, although you do so in one way, and I in another.

DEATH — Unless you are speaking to yourself, or to some one inside your throat, raise your voice, and pronounce your words more distinctly. If you go mumbling between your teeth with that thin spider-voice of yours, I shall never understand you; because you ought to know that my hearing serves me no better than my sight.

FASHION — Although it be contrary to custom, for in France they do not speak to be heard, yet, since we are sisters, I will speak as you wish, for we can dispense with ceremony between ourselves. I say then that our common nature and custom is to incessantly renew the world. You attack the life of man, and overthrow all people and nations from beginning to end; whereas I content myself for the most part with influencing beards, head-dresses, costumes, furniture, houses, and the like. It is true, I do some things comparable to your supreme action. I pierce ears, lips, and noses, and cause them to be torn by the ornaments I suspend from them. I impress men’s skin with hot iron stamps, under the pretence of adornment. I compress the heads of children with tight bandages and other contrivances; and make it customary for all men of a country to have heads of the same shape, as in parts of America and Asia. I torture and cripple people with small shoes. I stifle women with stays so tight, that their eyes start from their heads; and I play a thousand similar pranks. I also frequently persuade and force men of refinement to bear daily numberless fatigues and discomforts, and often real sufferings; and some even die gloriously for love of me. I will say nothing of the headaches, colds, inflammations of all kinds, fevers — daily, tertian, and quartan — which men gain by their obedience to me. They are content to shiver with cold, or melt with heat, simply because it is my will that they cover their shoulders with wool, and their breasts with cotton. In fact, they do everything in my way, regardless of their own injury.

DEATH — In truth, I believe you are my sister; the testimony of a birth certificate could scarcely make me surer of it. But standing still paralyses me, so if you can, let us run; only you must not creep, because I go at a great pace. As we proceed you can tell me what you want. If you cannot keep up with me, on account of our relationship I promise when I die to bequeath you all my clothes and effects as a New Year’s gift.

FASHION — If we ran a race together, I hardly know which of us would win. For if you run, I gallop, and standing still, which paralyses you, is death to me. So let us run, and we will chat as we go along.

DEATH — So be it then. Since your mother was mine, you ought to serve me in some way, and assist me in my business.

FASHION — I have already done so — more than you imagine. Above all, I, who annul and transform other customs unceasingly, have nowhere changed the custom of death; for this reason it has prevailed from the beginning of the world until now.

DEATH — A great miracle forsooth, that you have never done what you could not do!

FASHION — Why cannot I do it? You show how ignorant you are of the power of Fashion.

DEATH — Well, well: time enough to talk of this when you introduce the custom of not dying. But at present, I want you, like a good sister, to aid me in rendering my task more easy and expeditious than it has hitherto been.

FASHION — I have already mentioned some of my labours which are a source of profit to you. But they are trifling in comparison with those of which I will now tell you. Little by little, and especially in modern times, I have brought into disuse and discredit those exertions and exercises which promote bodily health; and have substituted numberless others which enfeeble the body in a thousand ways, and shorten life. Besides, I have introduced customs and manners, which render existence a thing more dead than alive, whether regarded from a physical or mental point of view; so that this century may be aptly termed the century of death. And whereas formerly you had no other possessions except graves and vaults, where you sowed bones and dust, which are but a barren seed, now you have fine landed properties, and people who are a sort of freehold possession of yours as soon as they are born, though not then claimed by you. And more, you, who used formerly to be hated and vituperated, are in the present day, thanks to me, valued and lauded by all men of genius. Such an one prefers you to life itself, and holds you in such high esteem that he invokes you, and looks to you as his greatest hope. But this is not all. I perceived that men had some vague idea of an after-life, which they called immortality. They imagined they lived in the memory of their fellows, and this remembrance they sought after eagerly. Of course this was in reality mere fancy, since what could it matter to them when dead, that they lived in the minds of men? As well might they dread contamination in the grave! Yet, fearing lest this chimera might be prejudicial to you, in seeming to diminish your honour and reputation, I have abolished the fashion of seeking immortality, and its concession, even when merited. So that now, whoever dies may assure himself that he is dead altogether, and that every bit of him goes into the ground, just as a little fish is swallowed, bones and all. These important things my love for you has prompted me to effect. I have also succeeded in my endeavour to increase your power on earth. I am more than ever desirous of continuing this work. Indeed, my object in seeking you to-day was to make a proposal that for the future we should not separate, but jointly might scheme and execute for the furtherance of our respective designs.

DEATH — You speak reasonably, and I am willing to do as you propose