Saturday, 5 September 2009

The Power of Hair to Excite, Unsettle and Amuse

Continuing the theme of the uncomfortable displacement of the use of hair, Meret
Oppenheim's Le Dejeuner en fourrure (The Fur Luncheon) of 1937 also makes visible the containment and ordering of female sexuality where the reference to fur is inherently associated with sex, eroticism and desire. In one part of her complexly associative book, From the Beast to the Blonde, Marina Warner also discusses the work of artist Merit Oppenheim. Oppenheim’s surreal sculpture, Project for Sandals is a transitional object for a woman’s entry into the world of sexual knowledge and liberation. This high-heeled shoe has a furry foot and toes. Less famous than the teacup, but equally erotic, could this be a reference to the mistranslation of Cinderella’s slipper from fur to glass? Clearly, Oppenheim’s imagery is steeped in the language of fairy tales.

Fear of fur: An abnormal and persistent fear of fur is called doraphobia. Sufferers of this fear avoid fur-bearing animals because fur is repulsive to them. Perhaps some of these phobics associate fur with childhood stories about "the big bad wolf" and other fur-bearing predators.

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