Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lines on her face. (#2)

20.5 x 22 cm
Cover image from a SAP catalogue (advertising a fair on business and technology), archival tape, thread
Note about this image: there are 38 lines on her face - and that happened by chance. (honest)


..."Thank God for that face-lift. I was against it but I was wrong. Dead wrong. I got to admit it. That guy did a wonderful job. Thank God our Dawn doesn't look anymore like all that she went through."
"He did do a great job," the Swede said. "Erased all that suffereing. He gave her back her face." No longer does she have to look in the mirror at the record of her misery. It had been a brilliant stroke: she had got the thing out directly in front of her.
"But she's waiting. I see it, Seymour. A mother sees such things. Maybe you erase the suffering from the face, but you can't remove the memory inside. Under that face, the poor thing is waiting."

p. 298, American Pastoral, Philip Roth


There is a huge industry - as most of us know - in the elimination of wrinkles.
Anti-aging creams. Botox. Anti-wrinkle creams. Laser resurfacing. Injectable skin fillers. The list goes on.
Youth 4evr. Smooth, taut skin. Purity. Freshness.

As I have been told - fabric has a memory of it's folds. If you try to refold something after it has been folded in a particular position over a long period of time - it can't be refolded. The fabric "remembers" the initial fold.
Our face does the same thing - our repeated facial gestures fold our skin in a certain position causing those wrinkles to appear. (Sure there are other reasons for the cause of wrinkles: worry, smoking, a thinness in the surface of our skin, and so on and so forth). So one could deduce, as Mr. Roth wrote so eloquently, that quite possibly wrinkles hold our memories.

In the late 80's my mom talked about getting a face lift. I remember thinking about what a bad idea that was. Mostly because of how much a face is physically shifted and changed. I kept thinking how my mom just wouldn't look like my mom anymore, selfish reason for not supporting her desire - true. Granted we were in California - land of the freshly young and beautiful.
I am quite happy she never got one. Now - years later, I am faced with my own wrinkles. Just the other night at dinner L. told L.P. and I how much he liked our 'crow's feet' (what a horrible name to describe these lines!). He said he wished he had some like us. We both crinkled our noses...
Well, I will just have to try to be content that I have my fair share of crow's feet and I should, I guess, think of all of those memories those lines are storing.

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