Useless Observation

  • Marc Chagall
  • Rooster symbology
  • Jewish Russians
  • Junya Watanabe
  • Aaron Rose

While reading Marc Chagall’s biography and flipping through a book that encompasses most of his Fauvist-Cubist work, I was surprised by the constant repetition of roosters inserted into romantic contexts. It was the fact that the rooster tended to appear as a third element in the illustrations (the lovers being the first two), which reached my attention the most. It seems as though Chagall depicted “love” as a rooster. In the painting “Lovers with Red Rooster”, the rooster even takes the shape of a heart.

Marc Chagall: The Rooster
Not convinced with my observation, I went online and looked for the symbolic meaning of roosters in Chegall’s work but I found nothing. In a procrastinating spree I came to find out that most cultures and religions have positive connotations of this bird… except for the Celtic and the Norse who evidently tended to have an oftentimes Naturalistic overview on, well, everything. Maybe it is because I am not an avid fan of livestock but, in my opinion, roosters are quite the opposite. They are narcissistic and violent; arrogant and beautiful; which, of course, makes me repudiate them all the more.
Then of course Mr. Chagall was mostly inspired by his hometown Vitebsk, his Jewish roots, and his love for Bella Rosenfeld. There must be something about one of these three that bring the rooster into context. If anybody finds out why he links them, please let me know. I do not know why but it is stupid subjective things like these that interest me… sew me.

Jersey coat with rooster feathers, Rob Chamaeleo; Pants, Dries van Noten; Shoes, Doc Martens/// Photography, Oscar Herrera.

Jersey coat with rooster feathers, Rob Chamaeleo; Pants, Dries van Noten; Shoes, Doc Martens/// Photography, Oscar Herrera.

Feather and fringe shirt, Rob Chamaeleo; Boxers, Banana Republic; Shoes, Doc Martens/// Photography,Oscar Herrera; Make-up, Luis Gonzales.

The Junya Watanabe collection for Spring/Summer 2012 was breathtaking and probably one of my favorites. The South American inspiration and his wabi-sabi-savvy deconstruction of the Argentinian bolero put him at amongst my top collections this season.  Also, on a side-note: the red flowery motifs and the rooster-feather headdresses somehow remind me of a Jewish Russia, ergo Chagall’s heritage and paintings.

Special thanks to the photographer Oscar Herrera and make-up artist Luis Gonzalez for helping me with the photo shoots. All details are above except for this: I found the amazing Mexican, “Dia de los Muertos” mask and the small wooden rooster in my parents’ collection and went on to show my interpretation of the bird’s significance.

Also, If you have time, you should watch this. It is a transfixing film by Aaron Rose which focuses on capturing screen shots of poultry, I saw it on Nowness.com a couple of months ago and voila’

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