An exhibition featuring Meret Oppenheim’s surprising surrealism titled Mirrors of the Mind is opening at EMMA ‒ Espoo Museum of Modern Art. At the same time Danish artist John Kørner’s immersive installation Tripoli ‒ Lampedusa will be unveiled.
Meret Oppenheim: Mirrors of the Mind 14.2.–12.8.2018
Mirrors of the Mind is a comprehensive overview of Meret Oppenheim’s (1913 Berlin – 1985 Basel) multifaceted art that spanned over five centuries. The exhibition consists of over 200 works: Hybrid objects, paintings, graphic works, drawings, jewellery, experimental fashion and the artist’s poetry.
Meret Oppenheim was a radical reformer of Surrealism who stood out distinctly from her male contemporaries. In comparison to the grand gestures in the art of Salvador Dali and Max Ernst, Oppenheim’s surrealism was intellectual and playful and it challenged traditional gender roles. She wanted to question modern society’s norms and believed that the mind is androgynous.
Oppenheim used fashion in particular as a way to examine the boundaries of identity, and she created the most imaginary outfits and jewellery with her surprising material and object assemblages. As a surrealist Oppenheim believed in the power of poetry, imagination, dreams, the subconsciousness and nature, and she strove to unite art and life. A work of art should cause a shift in the spectator.
EMMAs exhibition architecture is based on curator Tiina Penttilä’s concept founded on an idea that was central to the surrealists: The mind is depicted as a house with different rooms. Four distinct rooms – cabinet of curiosities, a boudoir, a dream space, and a mirror hall – open up Oppenheim’s art via elements and moods characteristic to Surrealism.
Apart from Oppenheim’s works the exhibition features corresponding works from her artist friends such as Man Ray (1890–1976) and Daniel Spoerri (b. 1930) as well as photographs and portraits of Oppenheim herself.
The works in the exhibition have been compiled from European private and public collections. The exhibition is curated in part by EMMA and is based on an entity that is the work of collector and gallerist Thomas Levy (LEVY Galerie, Hamburg). Levy knew Meret Oppenheim in person. The exhibition’s production partner is ARTOMA Art and Cultural Management.
John Kørner: Tripoli – Lampedusa 14.2.–29.7.2018
Simultaneously with the Oppenheim exhibition opening, EMMA will unveil John Kørner’s (1967, Århus) exhibition consisting of one work. Kørner has transformed EMMAs Areena space into a three-dimensional painting that the viewer can step into. Directly in front of the viewer, a gigantic wave rises carrying two boats, one of which you can board and dance on.
Kørner’s art draws from contemporary pressing issues, such as global inequality for example. The artist questions what kind of welfare we value and want to further in society. His approach is political, but also poetic, and leaves room for interpretation. In comparison to several other recent works of art discussing the refugee crisis, Kørner’s work does not depict refugees. Rather, it actually depicts us. The artist is asking if our Nordic welfare society is actually in danger or are we just reluctant to share the accumulated wealth we are enjoying? According to a Danish saying ”Festen fortsætter – The festivities continue”, but for whom?
Pilvi Kalhama, Museum Director, EMMA
Arja Miller, Chief Curator, EMMA
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Tiina Penttilä, Exhibition Curator, EMMA
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Located in Tapiola, Espoo, EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art’s collection and exhibition programme profiles Finnish and international modernism, contemporary art as well as design. EMMA’s exhibition spaces – the largest in Finland – are situated in the architecturally impressive WeeGee building designed by Professor Aarno Ruusuvuori. The modern architecture adds to the experience-focused presentation of the changing exhibitions and permanent collections of EMMA, the Saastamoinen Foundation and Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation.