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The Eye of Meret Oppenheim

Opening: 03 October 2008
Duration: 04 October 2008 - 11 January 2009
Artist: Meret Oppenheim
Curator: Valerio Dehò

Meret Oppenheim was an exceptional artist and an exceptional woman.

Born in Berlin in the year 1914 as the daughter of a German physician and a Swiss mother, she is raised mainly by her grandparents in Switzerland and moves to Paris in 1932 to become an artist. Even after she is accepted in the circle of the Surrealist avant-garde, she remains independent and faithful to her own artistic development.

Meret Oppenheim is the nude model behind the printing press on the famous photos (1933) by Man Ray.

The icon of Surrealism is made by Meret Oppenheim: Le Déjeuner en fourrure (1936), known as the ‘fur cup and saucer’.

But Meret Oppenheim will not let herself or her oeuvre be reduced or categorized. Meret Oppenheim has no desire to be a muse, nor a figurehead for Surrealism. The artist seeks her own path; she will not and cannot be pinpointed to a certain thematic or formal direction. All her life, she keeps experimenting, creating oil paintings, assemblages, collages, objects made of the most diverse materials. She draws, takes and edits photographs, and writes poems.

Meret Oppenheim has been writing down her dreams since she was fourteen. Her father, a physician, makes her familiar with the theories of depth psychology by C. G. Jung and his interpretation of dreams. The symbols of the unconscious form the fund of her art; they are the language she speaks in her works and poems.

The exhibition The Eye of Meret Oppenheim at kunst Merano arte aims to display the broadest possible selection of the Swiss artist’s works. Her varied oeuvre is presented on the basis of a number of thematic highlights that illustrate her development as an artist and as a woman. The exhibition is mainly focused on works from the last twenty years of her artistic career and life, from the nineteen-sixties until her death in the year 1985. With more than sixty drawings, sketches, oil paintings, and objects, the exhibition centers on her analysis of Jung’s symbolism of dreams and the archetypes which were extremely important for the Surrealists’ understanding of art.

A selection of her many poems, unpublished letters exchanged with Georges Goldfayn, photos by Man Ray, and documentaries portray this unconventional and far-sighted artist as comprehensively as possible.

Meret Oppenheim, Portrait mit Tätowierung, 1980, Courtesy D. Bürgi, Bern
Meret Oppenheim, Eichhörnchen, 1968, Bierglas, Kunstschaumstoff, Pelz, Courtesy Christoph und Dominique Bürgi, Berna
Meret Oppenheim Das Ohr des Giacometti, 1977, Bronze EA, Courtesy D.Bürgi, Bern

Foto Installation