Franziska Opel's works alternate between image, language, and object, taking symbolic cues from art, design, and cultural history. By invoking the associations between these references and the materials in which they are realized, she opens new meanings while reframing existing ones. This evokes tensions and moments of contradiction—for instance, the ornamental might appear as aggressive—therefore, Opel folds in questions of attraction and protection, closeness and distance, daring and comfort into her symbolically loaded work.
Opel’s MOTHER is composed of six pins spelling out the word “mother” affixed to a denim background. By giving sculptural significance to her typography, Opel alludes to the ceremonial function of award or membership pins, pinned onto lapels to celebrate military or career achievements, or to signify membership of a club or association. Here the role of motherhood is given this significance, while being framed by a fabric that is both historically associated with mens’ workwear, and now, the flexible and casual environment of the neo-liberal workplace. Opel highlights the labour of motherhood within both environments, suggesting a recognition that remains unrealized. Opel has left the ends of these pins bare, ascribing a certain danger to the ornament itself, while allowing the owner to potentially rearrange the letters.