250313: Bank Austria Kunstforum - Meret Oppenheim

Bank Austria Kunstforum - Meret Oppenheim 21.03.2013 – 14.07.2013 The World of Meret Oppenheim By Angelika Bäumer There is no classification or attribution, no special spirit of the age that one can number Meret Oppenheim (1913-1985) amongst. In her art and in her way, she is so individual that her many artistic companions and the professional writers in the art world had (and have) difficulty in defining or approaching her endless, eclectic work. Actually, she was not everything – neither surrealist, nor new objective, neither sculptress nor an objet-trouvé artist, also not a painter and graphic artist, but above all, she was something of everything. She used curiously formed branches for a poetic coloration of "People Who Leave", a broken-off brick becomes a motorbike that feels the "Pain of the City". An exhaust pipe becomes a "Termite Queen" with red eyes; she builds a "Recliner Chair for a Businessman" and paints "The Eyes of the Mona Lisa", but also quite romantic landscapes. She was at the centre of the artistic happenings of the late 1920's and early 1930's and especially the years after 1945. She knew everyone, Man Ray who photographed her wonderfully, Max Ernst, with whom she had a love affair, André Breton, the godfather of the surrealists, Alberto Giacometti, Hans Arp and – naturally – Pablo Picasso. But none of them had any influence over her artistic development. Mental stimulation is more important for her and her very own creativity, her pleasure in experimenting and letting her ideas grow. She wants to, and has to, find her own form, and she deploys an almost passionate search for freedom in life and thought. Meret Oppenheim is German – through her father – and Swiss – through her mother and from both sides, she inherited the longing for clear order and precision in thinking and handling. Added to that came the preoccupation with C.G. Jung who deepened and increased her sensibility. Dreams and visions accompany her life just as her art does. Dreams that lend themselves to "giving direction to everyday life. One can say that her work is equally fed by real life and by the dream reality, that she is frenetically and literally open to the discovery which then 'as in a dream' changes into a taunting, snazzy, puzzling, exposed, shocking, aggressive object. He who doesn't notice the radical nature of the process, speaks about casual art. But also, arguably, “because a woman is at work", writes Ruth Henry, friend and art critic. And Meret Oppenheim herself says: "In the mental realm, there's no difference between man and woman, the difference exists only in the animalistic – because the mind is androgynous." Famous is the fur cup, the table with birds' feet, the bicycle saddle with bees, the stone woman and perhaps the one or the other picture or object. But in particular, she herself is the object that one knows even if one has only seen her once. The talk is of her appearance, tall, slim, an upright carriage and an open expression. It was a pleasure to talk to her, she didn't join the usual gossip of the scene, she kept her distance from the chatterboxes and know-alls, and she remained – in spite of numerous friendships – the great loner, very cognisant and stylishly groomed. As in her art, she kept to no continuously mannered style and although she always maintained contact with the major artists of her time, she never matched herself to any of them or included them in her repertoire; she remained true to herself. Her pertinacity, her own thought and art language, were far more than a phenomenon of the time with a sell-by date; on the contrary: she is still very topical. That can be pleasurably experienced in the exhibition (and in the excellent catalogue). Bank Austria Kunstforum 1010 Vienna, Freyung 8 Tel: +43 1 537 33 26 E-mail: office@bankaustria-kunstforum.at http://www.bankaustria-kunstforum.at/ Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10.00-18.00 hours, Fri 10.00 - 21.00 hours

Bank Austria Kunstforum
1010 Wien, Freyung 8
Tel: +43 1 537 33 26, Fax:
Email: office@kunstforumwien.at
Öffnungszeiten: Mo-So 10.00-19.00 h
Fr 10.00 - 21.00 h

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