Friday, 28 January 2011

Bite 48: Méret Oppenheim - Ma Gouvernante (My Governess), 1936

Ma Gouvernante (My Governess), 1936, sculpture
Well-worn high-heel shoes lie trussed-up on a silver platter. Mini chefs hats adorn the heels as if they were legs of poultry. 

A surrealist object, it cleverly juxtaposes objects as a parody on the display of feminine vanity and the fine line between female sexuality and being merely the object of male desire. Subtly suggesting cannibalism and bondage, the bizarre, quirky object presents contrasting images of dependence and burgeoning sexuality and perversion (an almost oedipal attraction to one's nanny). 

The combination of elements is unnerving in the extreme, referencing food as well as a basseuse sado-masochism. Being used the shoes are a token of domesticity, mixed with a foot fetish. Trussed-up they present the image of a disagreeable 'nursemaid' tied up against her will, squirming against her bonds.