Meret Oppenheim, ‘Wristband Gold’, 2014, GEMS AND LADDERS

Meret Oppenheim illustrated her concept for an arm or leg band in two drawings from the 1930s. Beside one picture are the instructions ‘very tight,’ making the dynamics inherent in the piece clear. She unites a biting critique of one role of jewellery - that of making the wearer ornamental, like a piece of furnishing upholstered with tassels - with another, contradictory, notion - of mastery and strength. The band could be a sign of bondage, or indeed of self-control. As with all of Meret Oppenheim’s jewellery designs, it is both appealing and charged with meaning. The band exists as an unlimited edition with bronze ends, as well as a limited edition with gold, as the artist specified.

About Meret Oppenheim

A central figure in Surrealism, Meret Oppenheim painted dream narratives and impossible juxtapositions of everyday objects to explore female sexuality, identity, and exploitation. She famously posed for Man Ray’s Erotique voilée (1933), instantly becoming an object of romantic idealization to the Surrealists for her seemingly direct and spontaneous access to experiences of the dream world through her youth, charm, and openness. In her best-known works, Oppenheim painted household objects in suggestively erotic arrangements or created haunting assemblages of indeterminate origins, often transforming objects closely associated with feminine domesticity into erotic symbols. Object (1936), a fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon, became her most iconic work. Through exhibitions and activities amongst the Surrealist circle, Oppenheim was closely associated with Jean Arp, André Breton, and Max Ernst.

German-Swiss, 1913-1985, Charlottenburg, Germany