X-ray of My Skull
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ssohail's picture


Meret Oppenheim had a strange sense of humor…but that’s how it was with most Surrealists and Dadaists.

We wouldn’t have all that melting, furry, urinal-y art if it weren’t for their absurd wit and intellect. In keeping with all that, Meret decided to make this little number.

She thought about writing under these X-ray photos “Meret Oppenheim, born 1913 died 2000.” Yes, she prophesied her own death in 2000 because according to her: “How modern that would be!” Or so she wrote to a friend named Harrison in 1978…

“When people read this now, they must take it as a joke, it just may create a little entanglement. If really I die after 2000 (even perhaps completely sick and gaga – I hope not) that would be great. But if not – dates are soon forgotten, some historians will certainly repeat: died 2000. Of course, the photographs will be signed by me-! Very Mysterious!"

Hmm, yeah I don’t really get it. But even though the joke may be lost on me, I can’t declare this a massive fail altogether. The X-ray technique is very like Man Ray’s Rayographs, but this one is ingenious in using the human figure instead of just inanimate objects. One couldn’t really even tell the gender of the person in this very transparent selfie​ were it not for the sick double-hoop earrings and knuckle-duster type rings. Oppenheim was a huge fan of androgyny especially when it came to her art. Even so, I’m inclined to believe that the shadow of that long nose might belong to one Marcel Duchamp. If you love Duchamp, you see him everywhere! It could very well be Duchamp’s female alter ego Rrose Sélavy, and this whole forged death certificate joke might be a lot funnier if it was. Seeing as how Oppenheim and Duchamp were chums, it’s almost irresistible to imagine that this might actually be Marcel Duchamp in Sélavy’s clothing. Is it a boy, is it a girl...C’est la vie!