Joint Exhibition

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"Untitled (Dora Maar)", 1936 Gelatin Silver Contact Print 7,4 X 5,5 Cm © Man Ray Trust, Paris / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Courtesy Kicken Berlin
Joint Exhibition

Linienstrasse 161a
D - 10115 Berlin
January 31st, 2013 - April 6th, 2013

+49 30 288 77 882
Tuesday to Friday from 2pm – 6pm and by appointment


Kicken Berlin opens the 2013 exhibition
season with a presentation of works by
Man Ray and Christer Strömholm. 1920s
avant-garde in cameraless photography,
Rayographs and object art in mixed media:
these are the key elements of Man Ray’s
photographic oeuvre.
Man Ray actively participated in and critically
shaped the twentieth century’s most important
artistic movements, including Dada
and Surrealism. In New York in the 1910s
Man Ray focused on painting, collages, and
sculpture; he was also versed in the medium
of photography and its creative potential
early on. Photography began to play a more
crucial role in his work in Paris in 1921.
Commissions such as artist documentations
and fashion and portrait projects simultaneously
provided lucrative business opportunities
and room for experimentation.
At the same time, his experiments in cameraless
photography came to fruition: the
Rayograph. Together with Christian Schad
and László Moholy-Nagy, Man Ray was one
of the 1920s pioneers of the art of the
photogram, which opened new perspectives
in the traces of light left by everyday objects.
In the context of photography, Man
Ray’s photograms represent an attempt to
explore “reveres beyond the empirical
world.” Klaus Honnef summarizes: “His
photographic images capture the precarious
moment in which the substance of the thing
transitions into an apparition of itself; they
transmit the lingering sense of physicality
and are in fact ephemeral figures of light
and fixed shadows.”
In addition to the masterly alienated portraits
of his muses and models like Kiki de
Montparnasse, Lee Miller and Meret Oppenheim,
the Rayographs were some of
Man Ray’s most popular work. A selection
of these images were reprinted in the early
1960s. The things of daily life afforded Man
Ray manifold impetus to artistic transformation,
indeed metamorphosis. The example
set by Marcel Duchamp and his readymades
prompted Man Ray to create surprising
and new combinations of objects of
the most diverse uses. One of the most
well known examples is the piece ‘Cadeau‘
from 1921, which reveals an iron with a
jagged edge of teeth.
In many cases Man Ray returned to a
works’ earlier idea in a later edition, as in
the case of ‘Cadeau‘, present here in 12
copies from 1974. The photograms attest
to Man Ray’s tireless enthusiasm for experimentation
and transformation, a curiosity
t h a t p r omp t e d o t h e r e x p e r ime n t a l
techniques such as solarization, as in ‘Calla
Lilies‘ from 1930, and collages, such as
‘White the black and white room‘ (1954).
Man Ray periodically reorganized his works,
for example in photographs. In 1944 he
planned a publication of his favorite works
– ‘Objects of My Affection‘ – which where
summarized in an annotated list. Among
these favorite objects was ‘White the black
and white room‘ from 1954, a collage of
photomontage and cutouts, which he photographed
for the project.

Swede Christer Strömholm stands for the
midcentury abstraction in the European
movement of subjective photography. He is
one of the most important Swedish photographers
of the 20th century.
In the early 1950s – under the name Christer
Christian – he joined the German group
fotoform, which had formed around Peter
Keetman, Toni Schneiders, Otto Steinert
and others in 1948. The members were
united by their rejection of the conventional
concept of photography. The loner Strömholm
soon went his own way again, but his
entire oeuvre reflects the fundamentals of
the subjective perspective and experimental
visual language formed by his association
with the group. Paris was long home to
Strömholm and launch site of his numerous
trips into the world.
His central themes are the world as a realm
of symbols, obscure likenesses, the
fringes of society such as prostitution, travesty,
and the draw of death. A melancholy,
mood – its roots in the existentialism of the
postwar era – pervades his street scenes,
portraits, and landscapes. Traces of transience
permeate his images; Strömholm
captures these symbols of a dark world in
his strict visual language above and beyond
its naturalistic appearance and seeks the
limits and possible extensions of the photographic
Strong contrasts, deep black and clear graphic
structures define his images. Kicken
Berlin presents primarily Strömholm’s abstract
works. They show graffiti in multiple
variations as traces of colors or clefts, lines
of light or shadow, as well as the organic
linear forms of plants and trees.