A Tray of Objects

Salvador Dalí

Figueras, Girona, Spain, 1904 - 1989
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  • Material: 
    Cardboard box, stone, polychromed mud, crystal, nickel silver, leather, chocolate, aluminium foil, matchbox and plaster
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  • Descriptive technique: 
    Work made up of a cut-out box, paperweights, a conical figure, an erotic group, chocolate gloves with aluminium foil, a hen figure, a box of matches, a plaster foot and a stone made of limestone. Originally, it had more pieces and a different shoe
  • Dimensions: 
    11 x 60 x 31 cm
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Salvador Dalí took part in the early surrealist exhibitions devoted to objects, such as the one at the Pierre Colle Gallery in Paris in 1933, entitled Exposition surréaliste, and the famous Charles Ratton Gallery exhibition of 1936, Exposition surréaliste d’objets. Dalí presented the work in this last show, organised by André Breton in May of 1936, as an allusion to the idea of the Surrealist object as an object of thought, an idea he had set forth in his text Honneur à l’objet!. Today this essay is entitled Tray of Objects, in line with its 1968 presentation in New York, and comprises an assemblage of objects in which, alongside a cardboard box, different pieces with an array of meanings are displayed. Some reference erotic fetishism of the female foot, such as the woman’s shoe, a plaster cast of a foot and a foot-shaped piece of limestone, alongside a label explaining its unusual appearance. This surrealist concept of love was full of other elements, such as foil-wrapped chocolate gloves, possibly alluding to the heavy glove in Breton’s Nadja (1928), an unsettling erotic object that in Dalí’s hands becomes something edible. An explicitly erotic figurine, a matchbox with a drawing of the Subway Café dancers and other elements that are now lost, are all referents to various kinds of eroticism including the edible and the fetish as related to orality and sexuality.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio