Tomorrow the Meret Oppenheim retrospective will officially open in the Gropius-Bau art museum near Potsdamer Platz. The museum had the official pre-opening press conference today and the participants were able to view the exhibition in advance. For those who don’t know who Meret Oppenheim was (I didn’t initially): she is – or rather was – one of the most important female Surrealist artists of the 20th Century!
This year would have been her centennial; she was born in Berlin in 1913, and went to Paris when she was 17 to study art. In Paris she hooked up with artists like André Breton, Alberto Giacometti and Hans Arp and it was here that she was introduced to Surrealism. In 1936 she made the Fur-Covered Cup which today is in the MOMA in New York City (check out the MOMA listing). The Cup made her famous (it is this work that most people still associate with Meret Oppenheim) and the MOMA purchased it the very same year. After the end of the Second World War Oppenheim moved to Berne in Switzerland; in the 1970s and 1980s big exhibitions followed in different European countries. In 1985 she died in Basel.
One room in the exhibition is dedicated to photos of Meret Oppenheim from different decades, she was such a striking-looking woman. Incidentally, Oppenheim’s Fur-Covered Cup is NOT shown in the exhibition, apparently the MOMA didn’t want to part with it and they are planning their own Oppenheim exhibition anyway. However, the Gropius-Bau presents some 200 works of Meret Oppenheim – sculpture, painting, sketches, designs, drawings – which makes it the most comprehensive Oppenheim retrospective ever.
The preparations for the exhibition took about 2 1/2 years. Curator Heike Eipeldauer managed to obtain a wonderful range of exhibits from different sources – loans from European and international museums and art galleries but also from private collectors. Did you know that David Bowie owns an Oppenheim?! Yes he does (“La Condition Humaine”). The exhibition showcases the versatility, energy and sheer raw talent of Meret Oppenheim. What an artist. Go and see it, you’ll be blown away.