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Pincushion to Serve as Fetish was described by Tanning as ‘not an image, but bristling with images’. It resembles a small animal, but the white lines on the black velvet, together with the pins pushed into it, also hint at the operations of magic or ritual. Tanning wrote: ’A fetish is something not exactly or always desirable in sculpture, being a superstitious if not actually shamanistic object; and yet, to my mind it’s not so far from a pincushion – after all, pins are routinely stuck in both.’

November 2012