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PRINT Summer 1978

Meret Oppenheim: Confrontations

SURREALIST OBJECTS ARE FETISHES attuned to disorientation. Lautréamont, the great forerunner of Surrealism, is to the fetish-maker what liquor is to the driver, the propelling spirit of accidents. Picasso’s Bicycle, Duchamp’s Chocolate Grinder, Giacometti’s Hour of Traces and Meret Oppenheim’s Fur Cup are perhaps the most famous of all.

The usual explanation for the last object is Freudian, associating a cup of fur with female sex. However, unlike Dali, Meret Oppenheim is not apt to exploit the sexual chiaroscuro. In an interview with the poet Alain Jouffroy, Oppenheim traced the origin of this object to a conversation she had at the Café de Flore with Picasso and Dora Maar while wearing a bracelet that she had fashioned by wrapping a wire in fur. Picasso remarked jokingly that there was practically nothing that could not be covered in fur. Taking their cue from this observation, all three

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