The Evolution of Religion: The Transposition Of Worship Of Theological Figures Into The Worship of Seductively Entertaining Objects – The Cosmic Feminine Lips As A Mass-Cultural Icon To Be Consumed And Enjoyed


Man Ray, “The Lips”, 1933

What for heaven’s sake are the irresistible feminine lips doing in the sky? Are they some kind of a space ship? Are they archangel baptizing the flesh of the earth? While we watch them they have already slightly turned – so, their left side (right in 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 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’s always supposed to be agreed with mass tastes – theocrats and businessmen know what the masses need and want. In other words – it was Ray’s parody that his “The Lips” was doomed to be in the sky – the desire of masses (looking at the sky for being saved from life), that of the deciders and masters of life (mediating between sky and life) and the desire of the artist are touchingly united – the rare unity, indeed.

The sky in the painting is not open to the sun – the lips are here, who does need sun? The sky, as if, is carrying a laced robe for the lips – a kind of lips’ back clothes. 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 are occupying a wide space with a deep background and even deeper underground – the geographic space we humans use to 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 and inspiring us to become 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 the today’s masses admire and whom they simultaneously being deadly and shamefully envious of.


Man Ray (1890 – 1976)