The Great Shop Window Dummy by René Crevel

An extract from The Great Shop Window Dummy by Rene Crevel

A link to the Art In Translation issue the whole appears in will follow when the new journals is published. The photo below is by Bill Brandt and is said to have inspired Crevel

Brandt Shop Window dummy

On sordid street corners, at the crossroads of European squalor, she parades an African majesty with long strides no skirt could impede. At her most dazzling, she calls to her lovers, her brothers, dark-skinned men gnawed to the bone by the capitals’ great bitches. She jumps over traps and the savagery of irony. They’ve done her up and squeezed her into old hand-me-downs, as if for some ghastly carnival. And yet, she is free here, at once the time’s witness and its miser, a mirror whose reflections will illuminate the future, a beam of tiny lights that have already bloomed into tragic, decisive, demanding thoughts. In the same way she always pierces the most mundane shadows, a bouquet of details, a geyser of rage, the flames of the future, a sun whose fist of sulphur rips and strangles the leprosies of sentimental dawns. Violent, yes, but gentle too, the Great Shop Window Dummy, this doubly womanly woman, the daughter of feminine attire and feminine nudity; the Great Shop Window Dummy, this Antigone[i] who can make her own finery from oedipal complexities arranged in oh-so very carnal smiles. The Great Shop Window Dummy, and it’s all thanks to her that her father fabric can live a life as full as her own body, her very own body, cylindrical beauty, the shapely one, the perfect one, so perfect that she doesn’t always bother to take a head, arms or legs with her on her travels. Legs, those scissors for cutting up space, it is these that she burdens herself most rarely with.

[i] Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus and (unwittngly) his own mother, Jocasta

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