The kiss is an extraordinarily rich subject in the history of art, but what inspired Fatmi, even more than the art of the kiss or the kiss in art, and even more than the ultra-famous kiss between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, is the way the scientist Frederick Soddy, winner of a Nobel Prize for chemistry, approached the matter, in revisiting Descartes' theorem on the ways in which circles and spheres osculate and the tangents that result. Soddy published a poem about these interfaces in a 1936/1937 issue of the journal Nature. Like a science of desire.
In the exhibition Kissing Circles, Mounir Fatmi presents a photographic series inspired by the kiss in the film Casablanca, in which a thousand references converge, notably the kiss that recently excited two young lovers in Morocco and the whole of their country with them, implicitly asking these questions: are a kiss and its representation to be condemned? Should they be censored? And a thousand obsessions, too: Fatmi's ones with beauty, black and white, archives, science and poetry. Further recent works in the show, photographs and poems, all linked to the circle, further document these obsessions, among which a picture of the artist's own hand holding and alliance ring: a symbol for the culture alliance, so is essential to his art.
"The Kissing Precise," writes Mounir Fatmi, "connects a Hollywood kiss and the film of my adolescence with my combined obsessions with mastery and poetry, including a winner of a Nobel Prize for Chemistry, a geometry of feelings, a surprising poem about circles touching and, finally, two young Moroccans who, with their love, threw a whole society into tumult, and the world in which I live. Yes, everything is desire, everything is poetry, everything is science, everything is art and, finally, everything is politics."
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