Meret Oppenheim (1913-1985) is one ofthe most celebrated artists of the 20. century: she is the almost legendary figure of a woman who managed to become a well-established member of the Surrealist movement, as well as to develop her own and highly personal research. The exhibition in Lugano casts light on the close-knit pattern of personal and creative relationships that linked the artist to fellow artists who were older and in many cases already famous at the time – Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Jean Arp, among others – documented through some of their most significant works. We can get an understanding of Meret’s own interpretation of the themes that were typical of Surrealism, as well as of how she herself influenced the movement thanks to her personality and charisma.
The exhibition releases Meret Oppenheim from the image of muse and model that has often obscured her work in the past. Emerging from the works by Meret and her fellow artists are the most popular themes in the art of the 1930s: from dream-like and erotic fantasies, from the woman as fairy-tale creature or sorceress, to fetishism, and to the relationship with Nature. In the post-war years Meret’s work was enriched with abstract research and demonstrated its power to influence the artists of the subsequent generations, emphasized by parallels with works by Daniel Spoerri, Birgit Jürgenssen, Robert Gober and Mona Hatoum.
The Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana is located just a stone’s throw away from Carona, a hamlet that was cherished by the artist, as it was there in her family’s vacation home that she found refuge even in the most difficult times of her life. The exhibition thus pays tribute to Meret Oppenheim in one of the places that she is most closely tied to.
An accompanying exhibition catalogue will be published in English and Italian editions (Skira publishing house) with images of all the works showcased, contributions by the curators and experts on Meret Oppenheim’s work: Martina Corgnati, Bice Curiger, Heike Eipeldauer, Josef Helfenstein, Daniel Spanke and texts of Lisa Wenger, Dominique and Christoph Bürgi.
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