‘Ma Gouvernante - My Nurse - Mein Kindermadchen’, Meret Oppenheim, 1936.
‘Ma Gouvernante - My Nurse - Mein Kindermadchen’, Meret Oppenheim, 1936. Photo: Prallen Allsten / Moderna Museet.

I love this for its clever simplicity and surrealist wit. I remember the visceral feeling of joy it brought me when I saw it in its glass case at the museum of modern art in Stockholm. I engraved the artists name into my brain that day so that it wouldn’t get lost in the sea of my mind. Oppenheim made the work about her childhood nanny who ‘dressed in white’ and ‘left a lasting impression’. To me it is a powerful metaphor about the legacy and constraints applied to being a woman. For others it has more sexual connotations of fetishization and bondage (so much so it incited a furious female to lash out and destroy the original when it went on display). Art is always subjective but this piece reminds me that when something is expressed in a way that resonates within, it has the ability to transform and inspire.

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