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Objet surréaliste (Surrealist Object)

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  • Date: 
    1936
  • Material: 
    Cardboard box, stone, polychromed mud, crystal, nickel silver, leather, chocolate, aluminium foil, matchbox and plaster
  • Technique: 
    Assemblage
  • Descriptive technique: 
    Work consisting of a cut-out box containing a paperweight, a conical figure, an erotic figure and a figure of a chicken, chocolate gloves, a shoe, a box of matches, foot cast and limestone with inscription (it originally included bread and more objects)
  • Dimensions: 
    11 x 60 x 31 cm
  • Category: 
    Sculpture
  • Entry date: 
    1995
  • Register number: 
    DE00501
  • On display in:
Salvador Dalí took part in the early surrealist exhibitions devoted to objects, such as the one at the Pierre Colle Gallery in Paris in 1933, entitled Exposition surréaliste, and the famous Charles Ratton Gallery exhibition of 1936, Exposition surréaliste d’objets. It was at this last exhibition, organised by André Breton in May 1936, that Dalí showed this piece under the generic name of Objet surréaliste (Surrealist Object), with a catalogue title of Monumento a Kant (Monument to Kant), alluding to the idea of the surrealist object as an object to be thought about, as proposed by Dalí in his essay “Honneur à l’objet!”. The work is an assemblage of objects in which, together with a cardboard cut-out, various pieces with different meanings are presented. Some reference erotic fetishism of the female foot, such as the woman’s shoe, a plaster cast of a foot and a foot-shaped piece of limestone, alongside a label explaining its unusual appearance. This surrealist concept of love was full of other elements, such as foil-wrapped chocolate gloves, possibly alluding to the heavy glove in Breton’s Nadja (1928), an unsettling erotic object that in Dalí’s hands becomes something edible. An explicitly erotic figurine, a matchbox with a drawing of the Subway Café dancers and other elements that are now lost, are all referents to various kinds of eroticism including the edible and the fetish as related to orality and sexuality.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio

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