Medallion with a Lock of Hair

The term “fetishism” has been used since the 19th century to describe the erotic relationship to an object.

The objects from the collections of Magnus Hirschfeld, Alfred C. Kinsey and Naomi Wilzig, which are presented in our current special exhibition “Eroticism of Things”, also include photographs and works of art, which are dealing with fetishism. For a long time, these objects were classified as perverse deviations from a heterosexual, reproductive sexuality by sexologists and psychologists. But there are fetishist features in every form of love: just think of the smell of the ex partner in their pillow or the curl of a loved one’s hair.

Processing this physical souvenir into a piece of adornment, in this case human hair on the back of a photo medallion.  In this medallion from the collection of the Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge, too, the strand serves as a representative for a person with whom a personal memory is shared. And it shows the various meanings that can be associated with an object, for example as a family relic, an anonymous curiosity – or an exhibit inside a museum.