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Obscure Objects of Desire Surrealism, Fetishism, and Politics$
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Johanna Malt

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253425

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253425.001.0001

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(p.212) Conclusion
Obscure Objects of Desire Surrealism, Fetishism, and Politics

Johanna Malt

Oxford University Press

The paradoxical surface, the glass/gloss of fetishistic seduction and denial, is at the heart of surrealism's power. In Salvador Dalí's painting, its pretence of transparency echoes the disavowal of violence at work in surrealist treatments of the body. In the objet surréaliste, it characterizes both the erotic allure of the commodity and the commodified bodily object, brought together in a parody of individual and collective desire. In the glass arcade, it embodies the very workings of commodity ideology. However, the surface also plays another role, one which has yet to be accounted for, and this chapter wants to conclude by delineating this final aspect of the surface as it relates to the political register of fetishism. On the one hand, it is an aspect that takes us back to the concept of the uncanny and issues of presence and absence, familiarity and estrangement.

Keywords:   surface, surrealism, Salvador Dalí, painting, political register, fetishism, presence, absence, familiarity, estrangement

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