And since I am thinking about Surrealism (having just read the excellent catalogue accompanying the V&A’s Surreal Things exhibition; having just posted about Surrealist shoes…), I can’t help but share with you my favourite seductive artwork, my screw. A postcard of this object is what I turn to when I am lost, when I ask myself “why, why, why? why do this, why study something so elusive?”. Like Object a, Duchamp’s Coin de chastet?� is my object of desire and my object of anxiety, all in one. As things go, it doesn’t quite fit into my PhD, even though it is MY object of seduction. Maybe it’s because. So much to say about it, yet so simple. One can think about masculinity and femininity; about opposites working side by side (like in the unconscious); violence and harm… A previous version of this object was given as a wedding present for his second wife. Coin de chastet?� is related to, but quite distinct from other Duchamp pieces such as Female Fig Leaf.
Marcel Duchamp, Wedge of Chastity (Coin de chastet?�) 1954, cast 1963. Tate Collection
Meret Oppenheim, Ma Gouvernante, 1936, Moderna Museet Collection, Sweden
Salvador Dali, Surrealist Object Functioning Symbolically, 1974, Teatre-Museu Dali
Elsa Schiaparelli, Shoe hat, (collaboration with Salvador Dal??), 1937-38, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Elsa Schiaparelli, Monkey Fur Shoes, 1938.