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Man Ray made this piece after the end of his passionate, and sometimes tormented, relationship with the American photographer and model Lee Miller. The lip outline may have been suggested by the memory of a lipstick imprint left by a former lover on his collar, but the lips are recognisably those of Miller. The object is evidence of his continued desire for her, mingled with suggestions of violence: the hollow lead case can be seen as a body, while the looped rope suggests a noose.

August 2012