Anna Oppermann, Antidesign, 1970–72, mixed media. Installation view.

Anna Oppermann, Antidesign, 1970–72, mixed media. Installation view.

Anna Oppermann

Galerie Barbara Thumm

Anna Oppermann (1940–1993) is best known for her “ensembles”—expansive and complex assemblages of drawings, photographs, notes, and found objects that she developed, often over the course of years, in idiosyncratic creative processes. The fruits of an approach that was both intensely visual and tenaciously reflective, her ensembles are explicitly open works. Oppermann had earlier constructed still lifes but later said that she often found the preparatory work more compelling than the final paintings. At some point, she began simply to leave the constructions up, in part because in many instances she preferred the object with which she had begun—“usually a piece of nature.” Oppermann continually broadened the idea of the object anchoring the still life, arguing that “one might also use a human being or an incident of any kind rather than a thing as the point of departure”; this view allowed

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