Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Paraphrases About the Finding of a Glove

These pictures were apparently based on images which came to Max Klinger in dreams after finding a glove at an ice-skating rink. In each of the ten etchings a man is struggling over a glove that he has found at the rink. Using the leitmotic device of the glove, belonging to a woman whose face we never see, Klinger seems to anticipate the work of Freud on fetish objects. The glove, a symbol of the protagonist's (or perhaps Klinger's) romantic yearnings, performs the role that we might have thought the woman to fulfill herself. So, in effect, the glove is a "sliding signifier" in the semiotic sense: a signifier without a signified. That is, the identity of the woman is never known. The sign of the glove always points to another sign, its owner, yet this identity is never revealed. The last plate is enigmatic as ever. An insect-like Cupid sits mischievously next to the glove, seeming to await the next victim of romantic Victorian fetishism.

No comments: