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A visual investigation of fetish in contemporary society


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McGowan, Shaun 2007 , 'A visual investigation of fetish in contemporary society', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This project is a visual investigation of fetish in contemporary society, developed
through the selection and representation of collected objects, with a particular focus
on toys.
Various definitions of fetish are explored through its development in the modem
world, from its first use to describe a religious object in the fifteenth century, to the
use of the term fetish in an economic sense by Karl Marx, and to the use of fetish in
a psychological sense by Sigmund Freud. Contemporary understanding of the term
fetish is further developed to explore the role that the readymade object plays in
society as described by cultural theorist William Pietz. A context in Fine Art is
offered historically through Andy Warhol and his repetitions of popular culture
iconography, and in a more contemporaneous sense by the work of Zoe Leonard,
Wolfgang Laib and the Chapman Brothers.
This investigation is carried out through the production and presentation of
sculpture. Objects are sourced from the everyday world; manipulated, and
represented to explore and develop ideas about the role that fetish plays in the
contemporary world. Objects that are sourced for this project are chosen to explore
the changing and varied definition of fetish. These include objects of mass
consumption and advertising such as commercial toys, spiritual or religious objects
such as icons or statues, and objects that are regarded as having a more
contemporary and personal sense of fetish.
Fetish is shown through the project to be a valid descriptor of certain relationships
to objects in the world. Toys were used to drive an investigation of fetish
throughout the project, and fulfil the definitions of what fetish might be. The
project has shown that fetish is a term that can be widely used in culture to describe
relationships to objects.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:McGowan, Shaun
Keywords: Fetishism in art, Commodity fetishism, Found objects (Art)
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2007 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Available for use in the Library and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. Thesis (MFA)--University of Tasmania, 2011. Includes bibliographical references

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