Berlin is dedicating a first major retrospective to Meret Oppenheim to mark the centenary of the famous artist's birth here on 6 October 2013. The playful and humorous treatment of everyday materials, conveyed with constantly new connotations, is a special feature of Oppenheim’s artistic works and links her to her artist friends whose company included Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Hans Arp and Man Ray. The photographs in the “Érotique voile” series (1934), in which Man Ray posed his model, are now among the most outstanding works of surrealism in the Parisian circles of which Oppenheim was highly acknowledged. The discursive power of her surrealism could be felt in 1983 when her Oppenheim Fountain was inaugurated in Bern’s Waisenhausplatz, a visit to which is highly recommended.
The exhibition will show the whole spectrum of Meret Oppenheim’s oeuvre, which in its independence and diversity is still a pioneering force even today. Following Oppenheim's artistic method, who kept returning to specific motifs over long periods of time and subjected them to new treatment, the show runs a course through the ever-densifying themes in a cross-section of the artist's creative periods: magic objects, dream scenes and myths, depictions of the invisible, cadavre-exquis and play as an artistic method, the search for identity, metamorphoses between the sexes, between human being and animal, nature and civilization. Starting out from her much appraised early work in the circle of the surrealists and proceeding to her less well-known poetic late work, the exhibition will show not only drawings, paintings, objects and collages, but also her writings and dream notations as well as her humorous and fantastical jewellery, dress and other designs. “Every idea is born with a form. You never know where the ideas come from: they bring their form with them; just as Athena sprang out of the head of Zeus, helmeted and armoured, thus do the ideas emerge with their apparel.”
16 August to 1 December 2013