But an idea is the most paradoxical thing in the world.

The flesh bonds with ideas like a fetish.

It becomes magic if there's an idea.

                 Robert Musil

Sixteenth-century European merchants in Africa identified fetishes as magical charms worshiped by peoples theu found incomprehensible. Eighteenth-century philosophers claimed fetishes were primitive personifications, the origin of all religion and superstition. Marx viewed the seductive commodities and magic money of capitalist society as fetishes. Fin-de-siecle psychiatristsfound fetishes in the erotic fixation of sexual deviants, while Freud declared them to representations of castration anxiety. Theorist of modern art have suggested that a fetish is any artifact that shocks our sensibility and taps the well of our deepest passions.

The most important motive for this study is the discovery of the profound connection between fetishism and artistic creativity. This fact is already implicit in Freud, who held fetishism to be the fruit of an ambivalent negation of reality counterbalanced by acts of symbolic substitution, leading to the creation of alternative worlds, forever one of the principal functions of art.

FETISHES - Massimo Fusillo

I am interested in the Fetishisation of the objects.

My research is focused on the psycologic phenomena that brings people to transform an object in something that include it self not just an erotic meaning, but also an entire worlds of past experience, emotions, desires , fantasies and fears.

Why some materials are so attractive to us?

What is this impulse that push to collect “ordinary” objects, why this passion can become obssession?

Why one particular colour, or object can evoke a bundle of good, satisfying feelings?

Why is so pleasing to look at it?


Why is so pleasing to touch it? To hear the sound that produces? To smell it?

It's a process in which all senses are engaged, at different levels depending on each person's predisposition and experience (mainly sight touch and smell).


Fetishism is profoundly linked to what psychoanalysis terms scopophilia (the love of looking).According to the Freudian model, fetishism works to obstruct, displace , or refocus the scopophilic glaze rather than facilitate its attachment to the longed-for object.


Therefore, it's clear that the protagonists are all those objects invested with symbolic, affective, emotional values.

But why some objects have a strong influence on our feelings, emotions, psycology?


Strongly linked with fetishism, is an other impulse, collecting.

"In the objects are contained past memories, features of what we have been.

So there is a strong relationship between owner and objects,.They can draw part of the personality of the owner, When the main impulse is to get the total unconditioned control on the things then the relationship is of possession and jealousy and selfish greed"


Remo Bodei (2009) distinguishes the object from the thing.

The objects become things when they release their simple purpose and they are invested by affectivity, by symbolic meaning and intellectual values, when they are included in relationship, when they become the individual's projected extension, when they are tied to sacredness and rituality.


The Fetish object is a simulacrum which incorporates the strong and unconscious components of the beloved one. The Fetish is invested by phallic and powerful values that the fetishist can control therefore he can be reassured by his power on the object. Chasseguet-Smirgel (1987) writes , the Fetish aim not just at a sexual satisfaction, but also to reach a narcisistic exaltation.

The Fetish is a kind of magic wand. Its presence changes reality, thus the inferiority, loss and death feelings do not exist.

OBSCURE OBJECTS OF DESIRE - Surrealism , Fetishism and Politics - J. Malt