L'APRES-MIDI D'UN FAUNE BY ISMET KOROGLU AND CIHAN BACAK
Inspired by Stephane Mallarme’s poem named ‘L’Apres-midi d’un Faune’ (The Afternoon of a Faun) (1876)
It describes the sensual experiences of a faun who has just woken up from his afternoon sleep and discusses his encounters with several nymphs during the morning in a dreamlike monologue.
This poem also served basis for the musical composition 'Prelude a l'pares-midi d'un Faune' (Prelude to the Afternoon of A Faun) (1894) by Claude Debussy which inspired Vaslav Nijinsky's ballet piece 'L'apres-midi d'un Faune' (The Afternoon of A Faun) (1912).
Faun. Those nymphs, I want to perpetuate them. So bright, their light rosy flesh, that it hovers in the air. Drowsy with tangled slumbers. Did I love a dream?
My doubt, hoard of ancient night, is crowned in a many a subtle branch, which, remaining the true woods themselves, proves, alas! That alone I offered myself as a triumph the perfect sin of roses.
Let us reflect ...or if the women you describe represent a desire of your fabulous senses!
Faun, the illusion flows from the cold blue eyes, of the most chaste like a spring of tears: but the other, all sighs, do you say she contrasts like the warm day's breeze in your fleece?
O Sicilian shores of a calm marshland that rivalling suns my vanity plunders, silent beneath the shower of glittering lights, tell, that here I was cutting the hollow reeds tamed.
Motionless, everything burns in the tawny hour without revealing by what art together they fled. Too much hymen desired by one seeking the perfect note: Then shall I rouse myself to the first fervor, upright and alone, under an ancient stream of light, lilies! and in my innocence I am one with you. Other than this sweet nothing conveyed by their lip, the kiss that so softly assures treachery, my breast, virgin of proof, bears witness to a mysterious wound from some sacred tooth.
But let it pass! A certain secret chose as confidant the great twin reed we play beneath the azure sky: which, diverting the cheek's emotion to itself, dreams, in a long solo, that we seduced the beauty that surrounds us by false confusions.
Between itself and our credulous song; and, as high as love is sung, of making a sonorous, empty, monotonous line fade from the familiar dream of the back or purest flank that I follow with closed eyes.
Try then, instrument of flight, o wicked Syrinx, to flower again on the lakes where you await me! I, proud of my murmurings, will speak long of the goddesses; and in idolatrous paintings lift yet more girdles from their shadow: so, when I have sucked the brightness of the grape, to banish a regret brushed aside by my presence, laughing, I raise the hollow cluster to the summer sky and, blowing lightly into the luminous skins, thirsting for intoxication, gaze through it until evening. O nymphs, let us breathe new life into some MEMORIES.
My eye, piercing the reeds, darted upon each immortal neck that drowns its burning in the wave with a cry of rage to the forest sky; and the splendid bath of hair disappears in the lights and shiverings, o precious stones!
I adore you, rage of virgins, o fierce delight of the sacred naked weight slipping away, fleeing my fiery lip as it drinks, like trembling lightning! The secret terror of the flesh: fom the feet of the heartless to the heart of the timid one, abandoned together by an innocence, moist with wild tears or less unhappy vapours.
Glad to have conquered these treacherous fears, my crime is to have divided the unruly tuft of kisses the gods kept so carefully mingled: after all, I would scarcely conceal an ardent chuckle beneath the sinuous curves of a single girl (holding with a mere finger, the naive, unblushing little one, so that her feathery whiteness might be tinted by her sister's passion taking fire). When from my arms, defeated by vague deaths, this eternally ungrateful prey frees herself not pitying the sob with which I still was drunk.
Too bad! others will lead me to happiness by their tresses knotted to the horns upon my brow: you, my passion, know that, purple and perfectly ripe, every pomegranate bursts open and murmurs with bees; and our blood, in love with whoever will seize it, flows for the whole eternal swarm of desire. At the hour when this wood is tinged with gold and ashes, a divine celebration excites the dead leaves: Etna! Venus herself walks among you setting innocent heels upon your lava, when a melancholy slumber rumbles and the flame dies away. I hold the queen!
O certain punishment ... No, but the soul. Empty of words and this weighted body succumb at last to the proud silence of noon: now we must sleep, forgetting blasphemy, Stretched out upon the parched sand and as it pleases me to open my mouth to the fruitful star of wine! Couple, farewell; I go to see the shadow you became.
‘L’Apres-midi d’un Faune’
(The Afternoon of a Faun)
Photographed by Cihan Bacak / Art Direction and Styling by Ismet Koroglu / Models are Demet Aksular, Ismet Koroglu and Burcu Ucatenik / Clothes Designed by Koksal Atay and Selim Baklaci / Head Pieces designed by Selim Baklaci / Ceramics by Bunyamin Bozkus and Melike Ozturk / Rugs belong to Koksal Atay
'L'Apres-midi d'un faune' originally written by Stephane Mallard in French and translated to English by Alan Edwards.
Shot in Istanbul in Summer of '18. Special thanks to Melike Ozturk for everything.