Mae West Lips & Lobster Telephone

The Mae West Lips Sofa is a surrealist sculpture by Salvador Dalí, comissioned by the British poet and collector Edward James. Made in 1937, of wood and red satin, this sofa was shaped after the lips of actress Mae West, whom Dalí seemed to find fascinating. It is important to note that this sculpture was designed for aesthetic purposes only and that Dalí never intended for it to be functional (it is apparently rather uncomfortable).

What I find most interesting about this piece is that Dalí created an artwork out of something that is meant to be a place for people to sit on. He took something that is meant to be a piece of design and merged it with the visual iconography of a famous actress.

A little bit more about the history of this iconic piece.

The Lobster Telephone, also known as Aphrodisiac Telephone, is another surrealist object made by Salvador Dalí, in 1936, for Edward James. “In his book, The Secret Life, Dalí wrote teasingly of his demand to know why, when he asked for a grilled lobster in a restaurant, he was never presented with a boiled telephone.”

The Lobster Telephone is a classic surrealist object, originated by the combination of items not commonly associated with each other, resulting in something odd-looking, both playful and intimidating. Dalí believed that such objects could reveal the secret desires of the unconscious. In fact, it is thought that the Lobster Telephone had strong sexual connotations for Dalí and that he often drew close analogies between food and sex, pleasure and pain.


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