Friday, March 13, 2009

Emotional Rescue
by Jörg Heiser

FRIEZE Issue 71 November-December 2002

Romantic Conceptualism

Andy Warhol’s film Kiss (1963): the screen lights up and without further ado – no titles, no violins, no cuts – we see a black-and-white close-up of a man and a woman kissing. Real kissing. Full lips, full on. Closed eyes and short, excited looks. They kiss for endless minutes before the image whitens, flickers and falters, as if Warhol had simply let the film in his camera run out (which is exactly what he did). The screen remains white for a brief moment, and then the next uninterrupted close-up of a long kiss appears. Out of the 12 kissing couples several are male on male, Gerard Malanga kisses both men and women, and one is a black man (Rufus Collins) and a white woman (Naomi Levine). In 1963 this was a daring statement, the polymorphous evaporation of sexual (and racial) identity through the serial fulfilment of romantic dreams.