Maye faye, she’s la gaye this snaky woman!

July 1, 2013

Javier Pinon Medusa Collage 2009

With the peeling snakeskin in the lower half of this collage by Javier Pinon – part of his series of Medusa collages – there’s an allusion to the figure of Melusine, too. I always took this phrase from Finnegans Wake as a Melusine reference: “Maye faye, she’s la gaye this snaky woman!” (FW 20.33), but it’s fitting for this image (lifted from here) as well.

It also brings to mind the corporate prudery of Starbucks, whose own logo – based on a fifteenth-century woodcut of the twin-tailed Melusine – has been modified progressively to downplay its sexual overtones and ‘play it safe’ with its consumers. An intriguing exploration of the mythical crosscurrents of the siren/mermaid image can be found here and here.

Teodoro Ghisi (1536-1601)

Illustration by Teodoro Ghisi (1536-1601) from a Bestiary.

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