Catalogue of the exhibition Léger and the cinema
at the Fernand Léger National Museum, from 11 June to 19 September 2022
In the midst of the First World War, while on leave with Guillaume Apollinaire, Fernand Léger discovered Charlie Chaplin in 1916, which was a real revelation for the painter. From 1919 onwards, Fernand Léger's works reflected the influence of the cinematographic image on his artistic work: thus, the illustrated books produced in collaboration with the poets Blaise Cendrars and Yvan Goll played with the vocabulary of the cinema by introducing close-ups, typographic research and kinetic effects.
In 1924, he made his first film Ballet mécanique, the result of a collective artistic effort with Man Ray, Dudley Murphy and the composer Georges Antheil. Completely devoid of a script, this avant-garde film animates and alternates, in a rapid and jerky montage, everyday objects, characters and geometric figures, creating striking visual contrast effects. Today, Ballet mécanique is still considered a founding masterpiece of experimental cinema.
Other film projects, both successful and unsuccessful, followed in the 1930s before the collective adventure, strongly influenced by the surrealist aesthetic, of the film Dreams That Money Can Buy, directed in 1947 by the painter and filmmaker Hans Richter, to which the artists Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst and Alexander Calder also contributed.
This catalogue presents for the first time, and in an exhaustive manner, all of Léger's film projects, thus highlighting the strong and lasting relationship that the painter maintained throughout his career with the seventh art.
Catalogue written in french, 216 pages, 180 pictures
Publisher: Éditions Rmn - Grand Palais
selling price : 39 €
1ère et 4e de couverture du catalogue Léger et le cinéma : gros plan sur l’œil de Kiki de Montparnasse, photogramme issu de Ballet Mécanique, de Fernand Léger et Dudley Murphy (1923-1924). Biot, musée national Fernand Léger Photo : © Light Cone (Paris) / Bruce Posner © ADAGP, Paris, 2022
Affiche : Pphotogramme représentant Kiki de Montparnasse filmée avec un vortographe dans Ballet mécanique, de Fernand Léger et Dudley Murphy (1923-1924). Film 35 mm en noir et blanc silencieux. Coréalisation: Dudley Murphy. Collaboration: Man Ray. Musique: Georges Antheil. Photo: © Light Cone (Paris) / Bruce Posner © ADAGP, Paris, 2022. Graphisme : aurelienfarina.com