NEW YORK - PARIS - HOLLYWOOD
22 February - 8 June 2014
Millesgården is proud to present a major retrospective exhibition of the American cult artist Man Ray (1890-1976). It is an intricate journey spanning two world wars, from 1910s early Dadaism in New York, where European artists sought refuge from the war, to encountering the ideas of the Paris Surrealists in the 1920s and 1930s and then, escaping Nazi occupation of the French capital, back to the United States in the 1940s. The places, the times and the famous personalities such as Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, Kiki and Lee Miller all left their mark in Man Ray's art.
The exhibition gives ample proof of the multifaceted nature of Man Ray's artistic practice. He explored the nature of art and worked in many different techniques: sculpture, unique vintage photographs, drawing, painting, objects and experimental film. The exhibition includes some 90 works.
Man Ray was primarily active in three cities: New York, Paris and Hollywood. The exhibition is focused on Man Ray's recurring themes, models and imagery of the 1920s and 1930s Paris. Visitors will encounter famous works such as Cadeau and the photograph La Prière.
Man Ray is best known as a photographer but he began his career as a painter in Brooklyn. He grew up in a Russian-Jewish family and his father was a tailor, who often enlisted the help of his children in his work. Man Ray frequently employed childhood impressions and memories of objects in his art. The idea was the central thing; not the material or the technique.
He started out with an idea, and used different materials and techniques, such as painting, sculpture, collage, photography and film. In this he was a precursor of conceptual art. Man Ray also challenged the conception of the original as he often reproduced his works, making no distinction between original and copy.
He supported himself as a graphic designer and cartographer, among other things, and from the age of 20, he began constructing his powerful brand - the name Man Ray. It was not until after his death that his real name, Emmanuel Radnitzky, was revealed.
In 1921 Man Ray left New York for Paris. Here he was introduced to Dadaists such as Tristan Tzara and Paul Éluard who reminded him of the playful energy he had encountered in New York. He also befriended André Breton, who wrote the Surrealist Manifesto. The surrealists were inspired by Man Ray's boundless and experimental expression. In Paris he opened a photo studio, which helped him create a large social network. His relationship with the artist, photographer and muse Lee Miller played an important part in his imagery. After she had terminated their relationship, he continued to refer to her in his art, in one way or another, for a long time.
Man Ray left Paris in 1940 only days before Germany invaded the city. He settled in Hollywood and focused on painting and object art. He also initiated a project in which he recreated earlier works from memory or photographs, which he continued to work with during the 1960s and 1970s.
The exhibition is produced by Mjellby Konstmuseum in collaboration with Øregaard Museum. A bilingual catalogue has been produced by Mjellby Konstmuseum.