Meret Oppenheim

Works in Dialogue from Max Ernst to Mona Hatoum




Curated by Guido Comis

In collaboration with Maria Giuseppina Di Monte

Meret Oppenheim (1913-1985) is one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century, the almost legendary woman who became an established member of the Surrealist movement, as well as developing her own highly personal research. The exhibition in Lugano casts light on the close-knit pattern of personal and creative relationships that linked the artist to older fellow artists who were, in many cases, already famous at the time – Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Jean Arp, amongst others – documented through some of their most significant works. We understand Meret’s interpretation of the themes typical of Surrealism, as well as her influence on the movement, thanks in part to her personality and charisma.

This exhibition liberates Meret Oppenheim from the image of muse and model that has often obscured her work in the past. Emerging from the works by Meret and her fellow artists are the more popular themes in the art of the 1930s: from dream-like and erotic fantasies, from Woman as fairy-tale creature or sorceress, to fetishism, and the relationship with Nature. In the post-war years, Meret’s work was enriched with abstract research and demonstrated its power to influence artists of subsequent generations, emphasized by parallels with works by Daniel Spoerri, Birgit Jürgenssen, Robert Gober and Mona Hatoum.

The Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana is located just a stone’s throw away from Carona, a hamlet that was dear to the artist’s heart, as it was there, in her family’s vacation home, that she found refuge at even the most difficult times of her life. The exhibition thus pays tribute to Meret Oppenheim in one of the places to which she is most closely tied.

The exhibition catalogue is published in English and Italian editions (Skira publishing house) with images of all the exhibited works, contributions by the curators and experts on Meret Oppenheim’s work: Martina Corgnati, Bice Curiger, Heike Eipeldauer, Josef Helfenstein, Daniel Spanke and texts of Lisa Wenger, Dominique and Christoph Bürgi.

  • LAC venue

  • Piazza Bernardino Luini 6, 6900 Lugano


Meret Oppenheim (IT)


Curated by Guido Comis and Maria Giuseppina di Monte
2017 MASI Lugano
Ed. Skira
200 pp.
ISBN 978-88-572-3515-8 I, -3539-4 E