Don’t mix work with relationships, they used to say. But fortunately, artists keep breaking this rule. Otherwise the world would have lost many great artworks. When one is creative, then in two the talent and invention is multiplied. The lifework of Lee Miller, considered as one of the most fascinating artists of the 20th century, strongly reflects not only her mysterious personality but also her relationships. Currently, it is shown at the Viennese Albertina Museum exhibition.
Artistic couples are always interesting to me. The exhibitions combining the artwork of two are often my favorite. Seeing how people influence each other and shift their creation further and further together. I believe that in some cases the genius may have never been revealed without that influence, support, the different perspective of the partner and, even, by the tensions or arguments between the two.
Even though the current exhibition of Lee Miller in Albertina, was not meant to be an exhibition of the two cooperating artists, it is partly like that. It captures the exceptional career of the New York City born fashion model. She appeared on the cover of Vogue and later turned into the fashion photographer and surrealist.
She mastered photography on a high level in Paris, together with the famous Man Ray. The young photographer continued taking travel and Egypt landscape photographs while she was married to an Egyptian businessman. Later, she was working as a war correspondent and took many shocking pictures of the Second World War. Seems like she never said “no” to a new experience. Though, it took her to the darkness in the following periods of her life.
To me, the most beautiful was the Miller’s dreamy work she made together with Man Ray. He was her mentor first, but she soon became his equal collaborator. And the lover as well, at that time. Lee was much more than his muse. Doubts still appear about many photographs from this period, if they were shot by Man Ray or her.
There is something strong about the photography titled Neck, now dominating the space of Albertina, and the story behind it. But I rather don’t tell what it is because it’s little like knowing the end of the movie before seeing it.
I hope this photo (by the way, taken thanks to the cooperation of TWO) will inspire you to attend the gallery. And it will be great if you will share your impression with me then.
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Photos – Lee Miller and Man Ray in the Albertina Museum
Photo in front of the “Neck” by Martin Jesny and Daniela Rifai for the Smell of Jasmine