The Evolution of Religion: Transposition from Worshipfulness of Divine/theological Figure to Worshiping of a Seductively Entertaining Object – The Cosmic Feminine Lips as a Mass-Cultural Icon to be Consumed and Enjoyed


Man Ray, “The Lips”, 1933

What for heaven’s sake is the irresistible feminine lips doing in the sky? Is it some kind of a space ship? Is it an archangel baptizing the flesh of the earth? While we watch it it has already slightly turned – so, the left side (right from our perspective) just got the connotation of a freshly fleshy feminine hip-and-thighs turned like Goya’s “La Maia denuda” (1800), but the right side of lips’ hip-thighs (left in our perspective) is like a tenderly flexible end of an angel’s wings.

It‘s usually the decision-makers who decide where the object (here, lips in the sky) offered for consumption should be – theocrats in the past or in our time the financial and political leaders and producers of the goods people will buy, but whatever they’ll offer/allow it always supposed to be in agreement with mass taste – theocrats and businessmen know what the masses need and want. In other words – it’s Man Ray’s parody that his “The Lips” is doomed to be in the sky – the desire of the masses (looking at the sky in order to be saved from life), that of the deciders and masters of life (mediating between sky and life) and the desire of the artist touchingly coming together, uniting – a rare unity, indeed.

The sky in the painting is not open to the sun – when the lips are here who needs the sun? The sky, as if, is carrying a laced robe for the lips – something like back clothes for the lips. Like icons are the essence of the church, Man Ray’s “the lips” are the essence of profane religion of consumerism and entertainment for people.

Giant voluptuous lips occupies a wide space with a deep background and even deeper underground – the geographic space we humans settle in. Feminine lips are our new heavenly fetish – mass culture of entertaining gimmicks and sentimentality as a new global authority over human hearts and minds. Female lips are seductive inspiring us to grow taller and bigger.

Today, it’s very difficult to differentiate between seductive aspect of traditional religious art and the profane – mass cultural entertaining and sentimentally playful art. When we are seduced by the icons of Mary and Christ, we’re seduced into the heavenly abyss of sublime love elevated into the grief of the cosmic suffering and its eternal importance.

Then we are simultaneously taken by belonging to the world of holy and holy… tragedy, to a supreme value and to the blasphemous destruction of value, to a power which doesn’t intend to protect itself, and to the pagan – vulgar power of destruction of power whose power is sacred – spiritual, of a kind which voluntarily not protect nor defend itself.

But, according to Man Ray, it’s our past, which is destroyed by our idolatry of unlimited prosperity suggested to us by the demons of wealth whom today’s masses admire, while its simultaneously deadly, and are shamefully envious of.


Man Ray (1890 – 1976)