Lee Miller 5 - 27 April 2019

True Encounters

True encounters
Captured by Lee Miller

5 - 27 April 2019

 

Opening Friday 5 April 19:00 - 21:00

Location: Shoot Gallery, Baldersgt 28, Frogner Oslo


We have the great pleasure of welcoming you to the first gallery exhibition
in Norway with the works of Lee Miller (USA).
 
Her social circle formed the foundation of our modern art history and still today we are influenced by their ground-breaking thoughts and their art. Lee Miller wrote herself into that story as well, and contributed to eye-catching expressions in photography. 
Many of her subjects were public figures, the celebrities of their generation and accustomed to perform for the photographers, but she seems to have caught them in moments where they are natural and genuine.
 
Lee Miller herself said; ”a good photograph of course, is just that, to catch a person not when he is unaware of it, but when he is his most natural self.”
 
The exhibition shows among other things iconic portraits of
Pablo Picasso, Dora Maar, Man Ray and Max Ernst. 
 
We are grateful and happy that we are allowed to participate in presenting Lee Miller's amazing photographic heritage to the world, and that it is not tucked away in an attic.
 
- Tinna Ludviksdottir, curator Shoot Gallery

 
The exhibition is a close collaboration with Lee Miller's grand daughter
Ami Bouhassane who will be present at the opening.
 
Preus Museum opens Sunday 7 April their comprehensive exhibition
“Lee Miller, War & Fashion “and there will be arranged artist talks and lectures with
Ami Bouhassane both at Shoot Gallery and Preus Museum during the exhibition period.
 
The exhibition is a sales exhibition presenting Lee Miller estate silver gelatin prints, handmade in the darkroom of Lee Miller's home, by Carole Callow,
Lee Miller's printer for 36 years. 
 

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Lee Miller 1907-1977
Photographer, cook, artist.

Although this is Lee Millers first gallery exhibition in Norway, her famous images from second world war and her fashion images from the same era are already known to us. Often these images are a combination of visually striking and something violent, without filter.

 

Through the history of art she is known as model for some great male artists, primarily Man Ray, but Lee Miller was so much more than that, she herself was a very skilled photographer and had a wide range in her own production.

 

She was born Elizabeth Miller in Poughkeepsie, New York, United States in 1907 as the only daughter in a family of five. Her father was very interested in photography, and was the one to both give her her first camera, and to be the first to use her as a model (with modern eyes, these photographs look very controversial).

 

Miller was an independent and unusually headstrong young woman, qualities she held for the rest of her life, and which reflected in her work as a photographer. Small town living was not entertaining for a woman like Lee, and she found a way to get to Paris when she was 18 to experience art and life there. She went home to America, but did not forget the sense of freedom in France. After a couple of years at an art school in NY, and a successful career as a photo model, among others for Edward Steichen in Vogue, she returned to Paris in 1929.

 

In Paris, she came to know artists from all genres who engaged with the art trends and philosophies of their time. Her own immediate surroundings were involved in Surrealism, and Lee was both inspired and inspiring for her colleagues. In Paris, she made lifelong and mutually enriching friendships with other artists.

 

Indeed, she was also known for being uncompromising and raw, an unusual and brave position for a woman at this time. She promptly pointed out all attempts at double standards, and to the different sets of rules for women and men in an environment where free love was practised.

 

Precisely this uncompromising attitude that seems so honest, combined with her charm and strong intuition, where probably contributing elements in making people feel safe in front of her camera. With her own experience as a model, she understood what was needed for her models to feel natural and relaxed.

 

For a while, she ran her own photo studio in New York where she lived, among other things, from making portraits that became legendary. All the ”beau monde” wanted to be photographed by Lee. She could devote a full day taking one portrait, making lunches in the studio with her subjects, and spending time getting to know them so she would get the best out of the people she photographed. Portrait is a collaboration between the photographer and the subject, and into this collaboration, Lee contributed with both technical expertise, a good eye for composition and style, and her ability to read people.

 

Lee Miller's portraits of her friends and associates, that we have selected for this exhibition, show precisely this confidence and intimacy between the photographer and the subject. Her playfulness, sense of humour, and her knack for composition and the surrealistic, appears just as well in her portraits as in pictures of deserted landscapes or shattered buildings.

 

Her social circle formed the foundation of our modern art history and still today we are influenced by their ground-breaking thoughts and their art. Lee Miller wrote herself into that story as well, and contributed to eye-catching expressions in photography.

 

Many of her subjects were public figures, the celebrities of their generation and accustomed to perform for the photographers, but she seems to have caught them in moments where they are natural and genuine.

 

Lee Miller herself said; ”a good photograph of course, is just that, to catch a person not when he is unaware of it, but when he is his most natural self.”

 

Lee Miller lived an intense and adventurous life. She had however a brutal reality check during World War II. Having stayed in London during the Blitz, where she worked as a photographer and war correspondent for Condé Nast, she ventured to the front just before the war ended. She documented, among other things, the liberation of Paris and her famous photos from the concentration camps in Germany became important testimonies for her contemporaries and for posterity.

 

She battled with post traumatic stress syndrome after the war and withdrew somewhat from art and her work as a photographer. However, she did not stop being creative altogether, her need to express herself surreally appeared in the many unusual dishes she created, presented recently in the cookbook "A Life with Food, Friends & Recipes" written by her granddaughter Ami Bouhassane in 2017.

 

Many of the images have actually been rediscovered after Lee Miller's death in 1977, by her son who has worked his way through more than 60,000 photographs, negatives, notes and letters hidden in boxes in the attic of Farley's House in England, where she lived with her husband Roland Penrose after the war.

 

We are grateful and happy that we are allowed to participate in presenting Lee Miller's amazing photographic heritage to the world, and that it is not tucked away in an attic.

 

Tinna Ludviksdottir
Curator

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Picture:
Picasso, Villa la Californie, Cannes, France 1956’ by Lee Miller (P0078)
© Lee Miller Archives, England 2019. All rights reserved. www.leemiller.co.uk


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