Meret Oppenheim – Play as Artistic Strategy

“Freedom is not given to you, you have to seize it.”
Meret Oppenheim

Meret Oppenheim, 1985

Meret Oppenheim, 1985

Meret Oppenheim went from being viewed as a scandalous muse of surrealism to a major artist of the movement. She was born in Berlin in 1913. At the age of 19 she moved to Paris to study art where she was introduced to the surrealist circle by Hans Arp. One year later she started exhibiting with them.

Meret Oppenheim, 1985

Meret Oppenheim, Fur bracelet, 1936

She would have turned 100 years last year (she died in Paris in 1985). A retrospective is showing her amazingly diverse art works in Museum LaM in France till 1 June 2014 .

Merret Oppenheim - X-Ray of M.O.'s skull (1913-2000), 1964

Meret Oppenheim – X-Ray of M.O.’s skull (1913-2000), 1964

One of the themes in the exhibition which I especially enjoyed is ‘Play as Artistic Strategy’. Play is omnipresent in Oppenheim’s work which she shares with the avant-garde movements, such as Dada and surrealism in particular, in an attempt to overturn traditional conceptions of art.

Meret Oppenheim - Genevieve's Mirror, 1967

Meret Oppenheim – Genevieve’s Mirror, 1967

In the exhibition you can see examples of the collective game of ‘Cadavre exquis’: the players write or draw on a sheet of paper one after the other, folding the paper after each turn so as to conceal previous contributions. Oppenheim also practised this game with found objects (anything interesting but no longer than 40 cm). The ‘objets trouvés’ were assembled into fantastical hybrid creatures with the help of her friends. Looking at these playful works just made me want to go out and do the same.

Meret Oppenheim - The King Has Fallen into Relativity, 1971, Cadavre exquis, in collaboration with Anna Boeti and Roberto Lupo

Meret Oppenheim – The King Has Fallen into Relativity, 1971, Cadavre exquis, in collaboration with Anna Boeti and Roberto Lupo

In the case of Meret Oppenheim, inspiration comes from dreams, nature, the invisible, poems, eroticism, the everyday, Jung, … everything really. Through her art, an incredible complex and creative personality is rendered visible. A great discovery!

Meret Oppenheim - Spiral-Snake in Rectangle, 1973

Meret Oppenheim – Spiral-Snake in Rectangle, 1973

Pictures in this post are from the excellent catalogue with lots of information on her art and lifetime.

Advertisements

A Painting a Day

There is something soothing about still life paintings. An artist selecting a tiny segment of the present, just a fleeting moment in life and finding it grand enough to capture it in a painting. It won’t get more mindful than that. How about doing that every single day?

Red coat hanger 29 Jan 2013, oil on paper 7"x6"

Duane Keiser – Red coat hanger,  29 Jan 2013, oil on paper 7″x6″

Using a makeshift easel made from a cigar box, American painter Duane Keiser makes a post-card sized painting each day (since 2004!) and posts them to his blog where collectors can bid on them via eBay.
Bidding starts at $100 and prices have ranged from $100 to $1500.
He actually prefers to present this work online, rather than in a gallery, because it seems appropriate that paintings of the everyday be threaded into the everyday lives of his viewers via their computers, tablets and smartphones.

Duane Keiser - White Bouquet and Window at Night 30 Apr 2014

Duane Keiser – White Bouquet and Window at Night 30 Apr 2014

Inspired by Keiser’s pioneering blog, British artist Julian Merrow-Smith adopted the same method, following the changing seasons of his adopted home in the Vaucluse, in the South of France. 

Julian Merrow-Smith - Track near Flassan 9 May 2014, oil on board 20x13 cm

Julian Merrow-Smith – Track near Flassan 9 May 2014, oil on board 20×13 cm

The daily painting blog format has since been taken up by hundreds of artists attracted by the commitment a daily practice demands and the opportunity to share their work with people all over the world.

The 2013 interview with Duane Keiser in the Huffington Post is an excellent read if you want to know more about his work, process and inspiration.