Historically, women were not encouraged to make art, and were often not even allowed to study. If they were able to make art at all, they were hardly included in the art world where white men were dominant.
Things are starting to change, but the European average number of female artists in museum collections remains below 20 percent and S.M.A.K. unfortunately doesn’t surpass this. On International Women's Day however, we jump from the acquisition of Meret Oppenheim’s work in 1999 to the acquisition of Elke Andreas Boon’s work in 2021.
Meret Oppenheim is considered one of the most important female artists of the 20th century. As a key figure within the Surrealist movement, Oppenheim became famous for her playful yet alienating assemblages in which she juxtaposed everyday objects, often drawn from the domestic sphere, like in 'Blauer Aschenbecher und ein Päckchen Parisiennes'.
She was fascinated by the analytical psychology of Jung and addressed themes such as metamorphosis, the cosmic, the supernatural and explored the tension between life and death. She often alluded to the female identity and sexuality. During her career she has taken a special position around gender, feminism and the oppression and position of women in society and in art.
The work of Elke Andreas Boon, on the other hand, is one of the most recently acquired artworks in 2021. ‘The Combing' is a kind of a pas de deux in which two young women are combing each other's hair, but within the context of the whole, they are 'organizing' the hair which is a different interpretation of the specific everyday act. Trying to arrange yourself and things around you properly but what and whom for?
Her work is part of one of the 281 artworks that were bought by the Flemish Government for the Collection of the Flemish Community.