COLOR: Garment-dye Sandstone
Oversized puff collage print on reverse featuring carved fetish talismans drawn from Fetishes and Carvings of the Southwest. On front-side is an applique in the style of an archaeological specimen tag in high-density puff ink with cursive written by my grandmother.
Drawn in by the mystical images of fetishes, one quickly realizes the intricacies contained within our perception of them. The fetish, originally a ritual object, has become reappropriated by modernity's removed desire to study, archive, and display these objects. Perhaps our fascination comes from the idea that at some point in the past, perhaps in a land far away, this object contained in it a meaning and power we could only hope to understand. In fact, the word "fetish" itself was invented by an outside perspective - this explains why it has gained much disdain.
Though the word itself is steeped in subtle controversies, it stands as a curious, if antiquated, artifact with its double layers of meaning. It asks us, the modern viewers, how we see these objects: as sacred items, or as mere aesthetic ornament?
"The fetish object combines gratification and distress: being sometimes the presence and sometimes the absence of that which is desired. The archaeological suspicion is that antiquarian desire effaces the past. The object merely mirrors the antiquary's impoverished world in which knowledge ... is replaced by blind desire. There is morbidity about the antiquary too: images of skulls, dusty gloom, yellow parchment of decay. The antiquary is dead to all sensuality save the body of the past. The past is dead and gone; but here is a beautiful and fascinating vase. Perhaps though we should remember the sensuality present through its absence in the antiquary's desire to hold the past." - Shanks, 1992.