Dorothea Tanning's "Cousins"
December 1, 1998
Dec 1, 1998
1 Min read time
synthetic fur over cotton stuffing and
wood base, 60 x 25 x 21 in. 1970
She came to him in dreams, as he to her
in waking. And that was how they would meet,
ever wrong from the start, however right
for the act, melting
together yet somehow sadly apart,
orifices certainly unmatched to
protuberances, although affording
it appeared, in the oddest places; no
completion but the striving, the struggle,
the melancholy abandonment of his
strain, her stratagem:
eventually, then, it came down to
this immense tedium, another name
for all our tenderness, solicitude.
Ready and waiting,
but the hope forlorn, the motive foregone:
she tyrannically submissive to
his compliant despotism, he yielding
over and underneath
to her surrender-her victory his
peculiar triumph. As if they neither
expected nor could resist, when it came,
Their embrace, or-better-their lenient
enacting of what Milton himself calls
intimate impulse, has reached that
pitch of expertise
when the thing seen becomes the unseen thing.
With enemies like themselves (all cousins
"descended from a common ancestor"),
what lovers need friends?
in tribute to Dominique de Menil, who purchased Cousins for the Menil Collection, in which it is the only sculpture by a woman.
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December 01, 1998
1 Min read time