Laura Gonzalez


Seductive object or fetish? — 12 Nov 2006

Disturbingly, Lexa Walsh’s objects are very similar to mine. She calls them seductive too, although they embody everything I don’t want mine to be. I think they are closer to a fetish, someone else’s fetish, than to a seductive object. They silence my look somehow, I don’t want to be near them. That revulsion, however, is not the lack of gratification required of the artistic object. These objects do gratify a fantasy, a fantasy one may have about art, what art does, where art goes.

Partially, broken apart, however, they do have something that makes me think twice: the doll’s look, the similarity of the brown objects to both feces and chocolate, the sexual references in Mickey Mouse, hair without body. Hair, hair, always hair, the fetish object excellence. These elements are not seductive characteristics. They don’t lead astray. They are the reminders and the remainders of an other’s desire.

Victoria Civera does not qualify her objects as seductive. They are not fetishes either. They talk about desire, about little objectual passions we all have even if they manifest themselves through a different object choice. The object in Civera’s work often stands for something else; or, to put it in another way, it calls something else into play.

If I am to be right in my quick diagnosis of Lexa Walsh’s abject work, her fetishes would also have to call something into play. That something, however, is not Das Ding or Objet Petit a, as in Civera’s case. Althought the two examples of work may look the same, they couldn’t be further away when related to my research. This distinction between seductive, fetish objects, and their relationship to abjection and, of course, desire [through my objects, my desire, the desire of the Other], is something I am going to have to address in this year’s report.

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About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.