My Exhibition 22.10.21–13.2.22

Meret Oppenheim’s (1913-1985) first retrospective is held in the Moderna Museet Stockholm in 1967. By this point the artist can already look back on 30 years of constant work. With “Ma gouvernante – my nurse – mein Kindermädchen” and other works she created icons of Surrealism.

“I suggested to C.F. Reuterswärd that rather than ‘Portrait’ he use an x-ray of my skull, with big ear-rings, neck and hand, also with necklace and ring. C.F.R. liked it a lot, shall I send it?”

Meret Oppenheim, 1967 Letter to Mette Prawitz, Moderna Museet Stockholm, 18.1.1967, Archive Moderna Museet

It’s a paradoxical situation: the museum does not accept the suggestion and instead uses a nude photo of her. In the photo the 54-year-old is 20 years old. The cover of the catalogue also features not a work by Oppenheim but a design by the artist C.F. Reuterswärd. At this moment of her greatest success so far she understands that she will have to manage her public image as an artist herself.

“Röntgenaufnahme des Schädels M.O.” (X-ray of M.O.'s Skull), 1964/1981, silver gelatine print, 40,5 × 30,5 cm, edition: 6/20, Hermann und Margrit Rupf-Stiftung, Kunstmuseum Bern © 2021, ProLitteris, Zurich. Photo Kunstmuseum Bern, recom Art Berlin

This self-portrait is symbolic of Meret Oppenheim, who always continued to develop her work with radical openness. She actively included different materials and current trends into her work and never stuck with one style or method.

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