RE: THE NATURE OF DESIRE


By 1986 though, Michals seems to use the photograph non-committally. The Most Beautiful Part of a Woman's Body is a shot of a woman's breasts. Beneath it the text begins: 'In the oldest dreams of men...', and having described how breasts are men's first memories, he concludes 'perfect in their gracious arcs, women wear breasts as medals, emblems of their love'. Even if you are interested in Michals' drivel relating to breasts, the picture in this case is but an empty appendage. In the same way, his photograph of a man holding an American flag in one hand and a Bible in the other (CLEAN) seems only to be a pretext for Michals to air his socio-political views ('Homosexuals were immediately rounded up by morality squads and vanished. Creationism was declared the official state science...').
-- ANDREW PALMER (taken from the review of Duane Michals retrospective of his work at the Royal Photographic Society in Bath, 1992)

In this response to Duane Michals work, where he exploits the meaning of bodies inclosed in their gender I face the bodies back as if one could actually look to the back of each picture taken in 1986 and see what's happening behind and emptying them of sexual meaning and still working with the author words on each 'moving image'. Women's breasts and Man's point of pleasure aren't reproduced here facing forward, but the memory of those "places" is brought back by the allusion that they are still there and have the nature of their existence and importance remains "in the oldest dream of men"...
Society has grown into a demystification of those symbols, and yet their presence (real or imaginary) define the difference between humans whose desire is to understand their own nature.
-- Daniel Pinheiro