When Everyday Life Becomes Self-glorification – When We Dream of Becoming a Couple


Francis Picabia, “Venus and Adonis”

What happens to two human beings – Jeanne and Jean or Heather and Bill or for that matter Katia and Victor when they publicly celebrate their reciprocal love – when they turn into Venus and Adonis? How to describe this magic transformation from just prosaic calculation of one’s social success, being depressed or money-hooked into togetherness of erotic excitement? How to understand this incredible energy that suddenly makes a regular woman and a man, as if, euphorically superhuman? Is it tempting for a couple to be out till late evening hours, as if, celebrative especially if they just met recently and planning eternal togetherness?

Metonymies which can help us describe a couples transformation from humans to stars can be the appearance of a particular – maniacally cheerful manner(ism) of social behavior plus tendency to overdress and over perfume themselves and an artificial, let’s say, affectation of being – too loud or too playful, talking and laughing. Even their skin becomes lit by, as if multicolored garlands that embellishes Christmas trees. In short, when people are exposing-and-expanding themselves to celebrate their intimacy in public amongst the crowd in order to enjoy their privacy (looking at themselves through the admiring public eyes), their inspiration is enhanced by a kind of… monstrosity of Being, as if, they bursting, irradiating light.

When regular – normal people become Venus and Adonis they after a certain point start to beam with… a primitive, almost animalistic spirit of predatory, even rapacious euphoria. It is at this point that Francis Picabia gets them into the butterfly’s net of his creative imagination. The eroticism of solemn bravado erupting from the volcano of togetherness gets mixed with excess of narcissistic megalomania when two budding sexual partners having appropriated super-excitement and energy, as if, advertise their insatiability and happiness with one another. Picabia’s couples erotically impose themselves on people around them. They’re, as if, flying up by the power of their own wind.

Let’s look at Venus and Adonis again. Their kiss is like that of two snakes – one with a masculine dark, and the other with a feminine red lips. And her soul trembles like a flying mouse on her cheek. The double-pupil of the man’s left eye (for this occasion being Adonis for Venus he needs four pupils with hypnotizing power) participates in transforming woman’s gaze into a flat mask. And look at their mutual embrace – the man’s embrace locks the woman’s body. The woman – his head. He appropriates her flesh, she – his mind.

The couple is covered by the glitter of shining dust of confettis and flying artificial flowers. Of course, the carnival’s crew cares about this aspect of the celebration, but what if it’s Picabia’s couple – Venus and Adonis who are irradiating this multicolored dusts as the natural ecology of their love with bodily heat of immanent eroticism that belongs to them the members of our human race?


Francis Picabia, Mardi Grass Le Basier