Materials: Stereolithography, metallization,
electronic circuit board, headphones
Dimensions : H 59 x W 38 x D 40 cm
“The Power of Love” consists of two separate sets of headphones connected to a fire, thus three elements symbolizing two lovers joined by their love.
The object conveys formidable sculptural power… but it remains an object. Its representative value serves its purpose. “The Power of Love”
is a type of lovemaking accessory, a foreplay toy. Each of the lovers puts on a set of headphones. In itself this is a token of eroticism for Mathieu Lehanneur’s generation, all of whom fondly remember the cult scene in the film La Boum, where a young man seduces Sophie Marceau by having her listen to a sentimental ballad on his Walkman while everyone else is dancing to a powerful up-tempo rock song. The same principle is used in “The Power of Love”: each of the listeners hears the tracks recorded as representing his or her intimate universe. Hence the lovers are not in sync and this is very important, as desire is born of difference. It is the glistening
fire that continually asserts its presence, imposes its heat and creates the union. The lovers see in it the perfection of their original love that they seek to rediscover and stoke.
When two individuals fall in love, they create a new universe together
without at the same time losing touch of their own, a sleight of hand
whereby 1+1=3. Love’s power is rooted in a crossing of boundaries, the
creation of a new entity. Mathieu represents it as a flame shooting up at the
meeting point of two sound tracks that continue to exist separately. This
flame calls to mind the burning bush in the Bible, God revealing himself
to Moses. If this burning bush is a theophany, an appearance of God to
man, what Mathieu offers us may perhaps be termed an “erotophany”:
this fire represents the emergence of love between the lovers.
We are all fascinated by the very moment of the big bang creating the
lovers’ universe: it is a moment of extreme intensity in which the potency
of love is compressed before it explodes. At this embryonic stage, much
still lies ahead in order to convert this purely abstract entity into concrete
form. Still amorphous at this point, love is merely an eager force.
Consequently, the challenge faced by the artist was to fix an element as
unstable as fire to create an object that would allow this elusive power
to be captured. However, from an aesthetic viewpoint, this piece does
not bear the mark of the designer. He designed neither the headphones
nor the flame; in fact, he merely chose them. The flame is generated by a
computer using an algorithm creating special effects, then laser finished
by a robotic machine. As for the headphones, they are the standard type
available in stores. The importance of choice in the creative process –
more precisely, the aptitude for eliminating the unnecessary – is certainly
appreciated, but choosing among the products of our mind is not the
same thing as selecting elements of reality. In this sense, “The Power of
Love” is a work closer to photography than design. The designer aims
to give the object the possibility for self-expression.