"M-MAYBE, 1965, ROY LICHTENSTEIN: Museum Ludwig (Ludwig Donation). Cologne"

M-MAYBE, 1965, ROY LICHTENSTEIN

When I was younger and saw pictures, I was terrified about not having any opinions and not knowing what I liked- let alone knowing what to say about them.

Other people seemed so confident and sure and I used to think, but how do they know? Then I saw Lichtenstein. It was a huge relief - because the picture was ‘art’, and I knew that I really liked it.

‘M-Maybe’ is so appealing. It is glamorous, kinky, arch and modern, all at the same time. By taking one frame out of a comic book, you float off into the picture and make up your own story. The girl is gorgeous and perfect-looking but, still, life is not quite right. I am not interested in who she is thinking about: it’s a bit like hearing a Country and Western singer wailing about some man who’s done her wrong. You just want to say, ‘Shut up. I want to hear about you.’

But I’d like to meet her. She is the kind of person who would give great tips - like which bra makes your bosoms look bigger.

One forgets that the painting was controversial at the time. In retrospect, it’s rather anti-Women’s Lib, but every woman can identify with it. Although it is bright and cartoony, it still suggests dirt and real life. Outside her window there are buildings, lights and empty window. You know that money is changing hands, telephones are ringing, secret messages are being exchanged and illicit meetings are taking place. You can smell the city.

Looking at paintings is really important to me as a designer. When a work is really good, it opens up your mind, then the ideas start to flow. Occasionally, I get inspiration from the clothes. This picture is a bit like couture; perfect and unnatural. It is a great fantasy.

(Telegraph magazine 11 september 1993)