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Meret Oppenheim. Reflection of an Era

20 Oct. 2020 7 Feb. 2021

This exhibition presents a unique view of the diversity of the artwork of Meret Oppenheim (1913-1985), a creative woman artist who managed to become a member of the Surrealist movement, playing an undisputed major role in world of 20th-century European art. This is her first retrospective in Spain for 30 years, bringing together works that span almost half a century of artistic output, and referencing every period of her work.

During her early years in Switzerland, when she was encouraged by Carl Gustav Jung himself, she described and illustrated her own dreams, which were to be a source of inspiration throughout her life. Meret Oppenheim went to Paris in 1932, where she quickly developed her own personal artistic language, with references to mythology and dreams, literary sources, Jungian psychoanalysis and gender stereotypes. There, in the City of Light, she found her place, retaining her originality, sensitivity and creative freedom among the leading avant-garde artists of the time, such as Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, André Breton and Jean Arp. It was a bohemian circle in which she was an integral part of the Surrealist group, to whom she became an inspiration. They idealized her as the infinitely sensual and creative Woman. She was a muse and a model who inspired artists such as Man Ray, for whom she posed in 1936 for some of his most well-known nude photographs. However, her sexual independence, creative freedom and desire to avoid creating a style, led her to distance herself from the Surrealists and she left the group in 1937, when she returned to Switzerland. Her output decreased in the post-war 1940s, when she was openly vulnerable due to a long and profound emotional crisis, although she occasionally experimented with abstraction. Her artistic activity saw a rebirth in 1954, when she rented a new studio and began a series of collaborations with artists such as Daniel Spoerri, designing theatrical costume and masks, and she remained artistically active until her death in 1985.

The Museo Picasso Málaga exhibition will display the diversity and scope of her work, with around 120 works including paintings; sculptures; drawings; engravings; fashion, jewellery and furniture designs; readymades; photographs, and documents that bear witness to her forays into theatre, film and poetry. The exhibition will also include a selection of works by artists who were close to her, in particular Jean Arp, André Breton, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Leonora Fini, Alberto Giacometti, Man Ray, Dora Maar, Dieter Roth, Jean Tinguely and Daniel Spoerri. Exhibition curated by Thomas Levy, José Lebrero e Inmaculada Abolafio. This project is part of Museo Picasso Málaga endeavour over the last ten years to give public visibility to relevant women artists of the 20th century, such as Sophie Tauber Arp, Hilma af Klimt, Louise Bourgeois and projects as Women Artists and Surrealism. We are completely Free.