Raymond Hains

  • Born 1926 in Saint-Brieuc, France
  • Died 2005 in Paris, France
The art of Raymond Hains reflected his interest in language, the play of words, and verbal associations. His artistic practice was not confined to one style, technique, or medium, but spanned an unpredictable range, from photography to found-object installations, sculptures and Web-based collages. He had enrolled in a sculpture workshop in Rennes at the École régionale des beaux-arts (Regional School of Fine Arts) in 1945, but soon abandoned his studies and moved to Paris, where he became an apprentice to photographer Emmanuel Sougez (1889–1972). Hains began to create his abstract Hypnagogic Photographs through the use of mirrors and by experimenting with different photographic techniques. In 1949 Hains reconnected with his former classmate at Rennes, the mixed media artist Jacques Villeglé (b. 1926). For the next twelve years the two collaborated to create décollages of torn posters from the street’s billboards and became known as affichistes, forming an opposition to American Abstract Expressionism and French art informel with their “ready-made paintings.” In 1960 Hains co-founded the Nouveaux Réalistes and participated in the group’s first exhibition. Among his many international exhibitions, Hains’s work was included in The Art of Assemblage (Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1961), the Venice Biennale (1964) and Documenta, Kassel (1968; 1997).

Artworks by Raymond Hains in the exhibition