No. 73. Contra-Narcissus. Having pursued Tatlin for a couple of weeks, he felt the need to make a large-scale figurative sculpture. The result was a prodigious mermaid. He built her on the beach, out of local clay, after which he had her cast in bronze, painted white, and brought back down again to the shore. He found himself bitterly disappointed with her. Her body was okay (he was especially pleased with the graceful fish’s tail he had given her), but he intensely disliked the empty, singer-songwriter vapidity of her expression. He wanted a goddess, a shard of the eternal-feminine. Instead, he’d made a six-ton girl-next-door.

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