“Taking pleasure” is at the heart of dialectics, it is you, when I self-touch you. That’s why I love you, and sometimes so painfully, at the heart of pleasure itself.
Jacques Derrida


Marc Chagall, “Night Path or Night Escape into Life”

“Night Path or Night Escape into Life” is one of Marc Chagall’s universal topics – fear of being arrested or caught, being deprived of mobility and freedom, being humiliated, loss of self-respect. The desire to flee, to escape, running away, and the panic of being deprived of one’s dignity is an inevitable torture of the human heart and soul under fascism. Hunger, dream of, at least, a meager meal to fill the empty belly… The night in this context is a savior or even a kind of happiness.

In the painting we see a very young couple trying to escape and have just enough time to take a bit of vegetables, flowers along with themselves leaving behind the fish which there was no time to prepare.

The young man’s embrace of the woman seems to have a bit of a maniacal intensity. He knows that he cannot lose her – to lose her it would be the end for both. But somewhere in the sky we see a several fruits kept by the freshness of the heaven itself. In Chagall’s painting the motif of home or household and simultaneously the motif of rushing, running away contradict one another. People need comfort and simultaneously the readiness to be on the move – they dream about a quiet life and are at the same time afraid of the necessity of having to slide away from danger. They need quietness and contemplation, but also are ready to act on the spur of the moment for the sake of their salvation. They feel themselves at once nomadic and sedentary.

How strong and energetic is his embrace! His eyes are focused on what is ahead of them while his lips are permanently touching her back. And, unexpectedly, his wings on his back are helped by the bright moon – this magic protector keeping our young beloveds intact from what is ahead. Have our couple been sent on a journey with a magic goal – to a world of salvation? Will those who dream about freedom and independence be helped and reach their destiny successfully?

The young man is embracing his beloved with the blind power of youthful passion but – how young they both are! He is protecting his love and himself. By embracing her so… greedily he is, as if, also protecting himself – so strongly he is embracing her. Now, they both are flying with the speed of moon! Moon is their speed, their direction and help! Moon is for them, is theirs.

But today, in the 21st century we see how independence of free Democratic people is in danger and how Democracy is becoming weaker and weaker. Fascist activists are creating endless ways of frightening and traumatizing the population. Everyday poverty destroys their interest in life and desire to live. People shoot one another on the streets. For many the only dream is the dream to accumulate more wealth by any price. But what we need is the moon’s direction.


Marc Chagall, 1887-1985