The Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt
Lenin in Warsaw
"It is true that in Lacanian theory ‘every letter has its title’, but this title is definitely not some kind of telos of its trajectory. The Lacanian ‘title of the letter’ is closer to the title of the picture; for example, that described in the well known joke about 'Lenin in Warsaw'. At an art exhibition in Moscow, there is a picture showing Nadiezhda Krupskaya, Lenin’s wife, in bed with young member of the Komsomol. The title of the picture is Lenin in Warsaw. A bewildered visitor asks a guide: 'But where is Lenin?' The guide replies quietly and with dignity: ‘Lenin is in Warsaw’.
If we put aside the Lenin’s position as the absent Third, the bearer of the prohibition of the sexual relationship, we could say that ‘Lenin in Warsaw’ is, in a strict Lacanian sense, the object of this picture.
The title names the object which is lacking in the field of what is depicted. (...)"
The Sublime Object of Ideology by Slavoj Žižek (London and New York: Verso Press, 1989), p. 159.