The essay "Fetishism and the Surrealist Object" states Fetishism and Surrealism. Invoking ideas of personal sexual fantasies outsides the realm of polite society, fetishism primarily exists in the world behind the world, and its public expression in the form of art can be a brazen and shocking thing. Contemporary artists such as Mona Hatoum, Rebecca Horn and Nobuyoshi Araki have created significant art that falls into the space of fetishism. However, considering the concurrent societal norms, earlier, less accepting epochs demanding conformity have produced some of the most provocative pieces touching on this taboo, primarily the Surrealists. Indeed, few movements invoke the overall inner landscape of dreams, desires and unconscious more determinedly. Primarily functioning between the two world Wars, Surrealism was a movement motivated by the writings of Andre Breton and dedicated to exposing the desires of the subconscious and fighting the bourgeois society surrounding them in many different avenues of expression. In addition to writing, Surrealist artists utilized painting, collage, photography and sculpture to advance various Freudian driven concepts. Among these was the idea of the object. Although Breton had called for the creation of Surrealist objects earlier, it was only during the 1930’s did the debate and production of these objects truly gain momentum within the group. Distinct from the contemporary concept of sculpture, these homemade montages of distinct yet everyday elements. transferred these works from the utilitarian to the realm of dreams. In this manner, 'the object created therefore constitutes the intrusion into daily life of a desire that moulds and transforms matter according to its requirements, meticulously creating the synthesis of extreme intimacy and the outside world'.4
For this essay I have chosen two famous yet utterly distinct surrealist objects to demonstrate the breadth of fetishism in this movement. Although the "furry teacup" of Meret Oppenheim might seem completely unrelated to Hans Bellmer's notorious doll, they are both objects emerging from the Surrealist school that revolve around fetishism.
Object (Le Djeuner en fourrure)5
Introduced to the Surrealist group when she was only eighteen, Meret Oppenheim began as a model for photographer Man Ray before embarking on her
Oppenheim, Meret (1936). Object (Le Djeuner en fourrure). Fur-covered cup, saucer and spoon. 7.3 cm tall. On display at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
own artistic endeavours.6 Apparently, the concept for the work emerged from a conversation in a Parisian caf with Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar in 1936:7
he happened to be wearing one of the bracelets she had been making for Schiaparelli out of lengths of fur-lined, polished metal tubing. Talking and joking about the bracelet, Picasso quipped that one could actually cover anything with fur, to which Meret replied, "Even this cup and saucer" Shortly afterwards, When Andr Breton invited her to contribute to an Exhibition of Surrealist objects at the Galerie Charles Ratton, she recalled the conversation and, without further ado, bought a large cup and saucer with spoon at the Parisian department store, Uniprix, and lined the three objects with the fur of a Chinese gazelle. It was Andre Breton who named the work.8
Somehow, this simple concept erupted into the canons of twentieth century art, and what