Magic Art Between the Primitive and the Occult: Animal Sacrifice in Jan Švankmajer’s Drawer Fetishes

  • Kristoffer Noheden
Part of the Palgrave Studies in New Religions and Alternative Spiritualities book series (PSNRAS)


This chapter considers the Czech artist Jan Švankmajer and the six ‘drawer fetishes’ he created in 2014–2015. The drawer fetishes are positioned within the context of Švankmajer’s general tendency towards alchemical transmutation of everyday objects, and the chapter argues for a reading of them as magical objects with the double effect of changing the world and transforming life. Indicating a wealth of surrealist forms of magic and art magic still to be excavated by scholars, the chapter underscores the continued relevance of surrealism’s turn towards occultism and magic as alternative paths to rationalism and reason, and as vehicles of radical transformation, even as discourses of (post-)colonialism and modernist primitivism are brought into the analysis.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristoffer Noheden
    • 1
  1. 1.Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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