Ann Ray & Lee McQueen: RENDEZ-VOUS
Currently on view at projects+exhibitions
Produced and curated by Barrett Barrera Projects, Ann Ray & Lee McQueen: Rendez-Vous explores the thirteen-year friendship and intimate creative collaboration between the late British designer Lee Alexander McQueen and French photographer Ann Ray (otherwise known as Anne Deniau), who McQueen personally selected to document his design process and the behind-the-scenes experience of his runway shows.
“You know, it was simple. He was part of my life, we loved each other, I had rendez-vous,” said Ray. McQueen and Ray’s friendship began with a simple agreement in which money, business considerations and fashion had no place. “I like your images but I’m broke. Give me your photos, I’ll give you clothes,” Ray recalls McQueen expressing to her early in their relationship.
The exhibition features photographs taken by Ray, reflecting her unique relationship with McQueen between the years of 1997 and 2010, alongside garments McQueen gifted to her over the course of their work together. The exhibition also features over two dozen spectacular McQueen pieces from Barrett Barrera Projects’ collection, the largest private collection of McQueen’s work.
Lee Alexander McQueen is a British fashion designer who founded the iconic, eponymous label and served as chief designer of Givenchy from 1996 to 2001. McQueen was known for designing outside the conventions of the fashion world, often taking inspiration from avant-garde installations, theatre, performance art, and gothic fairytales. The immersive experience of his runway shows allowed fashion to transcend commodification. McQueen saw fashion as an artistic medium—one capable of evoking the sublime and providing commentary on identity, culture, values, and politics. His work has been shown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum in the solo exhibition Savage Beauty.
Ann Ray is a French visual artist. She is self-taught in photography, except for alternative processes, which she studied during her studies at Central Saint Martins in London. During the late nineties, she lived in Tokyo and London, where she forged an unbreakable relationship with Lee Alexander McQueen, whom she immediately recognized as a pure artist. This was the start of an intense friendship and artistic collaboration that was as prolific as it was unique. From 1997 until the designer’s tragic end in 2010, Ann Ray’s caring gaze captured the spirit of the man and the essence of his work in many intimate situations: portrait sessions, at work in the studio, during performances – images of truth that reveal McQueen’s creativity. Ray first revealed part of her work with McQueen to the public during the exhibition Les Inachevés: Lee McQueen, at the 2018 edition of the Rencontres d’Arles. In 2019, she presented the exhibition Blind Faith, at Ca’Pesaro in Venice, showing a series of portraits she took of different artists with their eyes closed. She is currently working on a creative documentary, a feature film, and she is preparing the publication of a collection of poems and images, as well as her first novel.