July 1, 2011 - Musée d'Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne Métropole - Dennis Oppenheim
July 1, 2011

Dennis Oppenheim

Dennis Oppenheim, “Theme for a Major Hit,” 1974.
(c) D. Oppenheim Estate.

Dennis Oppenheim
14 May–25 September 2011La Terrasse – BP 80241
42006 Saint-Etienne cedex 1
T +33 (0)4 77 79 52 52


The exhibition devoted to Dennis Oppenheim (1938–2011), will offer French audiences an unprecedented opportunity to explore the art created over the past thirty years by this fabulous builder of forms and mechanisms, through six particularly emblematic installations.

The interest in the work of this American artist dates right back to the opening of the Museum of Modern Art: his works form part of the collections, and recent works have been included in group exhibitions. When he died unexpectedly in January, the artist had already developed the idea for the exhibition, with six installations set in distinct spaces. Each space relates to specific worlds: the body and ironic mimicry of life in Theme for a Major Hit (1974) and Table Piece (1975) in the central room; transformation to the point disappearance in Aging (1974); urban, decorative and exuberant sculpture with Splash Buildings (2009) in the hall, and finally, the interplay between architecture and sculpture in the outdoor installations Smokestack Buildings with Frozen Fireworks (2009) and Black (2007).

Dennis Oppenheim is an artist who defies any kind of classification or system. His meeting with Robert Smithson was one of the influences that focused his early work on Land Art (Annual Rings, 1968) then Body Art (Reading Position for Second Degree Burn, 1970). In these diverse practices using the landscape and the body, sculpture remained Dennis Oppenheim’s central concern. The artist says that exploration of spaces led to an awareness of his body, and experimentation with the body continued the idea of location within a space. These first forms of experimentation with “sculpture,” in which he left a mark on a space or a body, then found an incarnation in the creation of hybrid objects, monumental structures and installations involving surprising combinations. Later, Dennis Oppenheim began to create complex machineries that he documented with preparatory drawings at a later stage. The installations outside the museum demonstrate the way he played with of changes of scale, in the case of Black, as well as the public commissions that formed a recurring thread in his recent work, resulting in unnecessary and improbable architectural creations or monumental, inhabitable sculptures…

Open every day 10AM–6PM except Tuesday, 14th July, 15st August

Late summer night viewings:
7th, 21st, 28th July, 6–9 PM

Dennis Oppenheim
Musée d'Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne Métropole
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