14.5.13

Man Ray, by Roland Penrose Part 2

Man Ray felt connected with the new group of artists and poets that he had met in Paris.  It was right around this part of the biography where I started to become impatient.  Penrose brushes over what kind of participation Man Ray had with the Dadaists in Paris, before moving right into claims that Man Ray then continued to influence and participate in the Surrealist movement. 

IX Mime 1916-17/42
41 Rayograph

Man Ray began to develop his photographs and participated in a couple shows where his work was either ignored or written off as Dada sensationalism.  At some point Picabia convinced Man Ray to pursue photography more seriously and this granted Man Ray more success that then became profitable.  Penrose makes this point,

 “Since Man Ray is essentially a poet, the division between painting and photography becomes imperceptible in his hands.  He has, moreover, been able to argue that he used photography for those things he does not wish to paint and painting for what cannot be photographed.”  

It’s not that I disagree with this sentiment towards Man Ray, but since Penrose felt so convinced, it would be interesting to see how he believed Man Ray’s work was functioning in this way.  Perhaps I’m just asking of too much of an explanation.  Man Ray soon stumbled upon the process that led to his Rayographs. The random combination of items paired with the dark processed tones of the photograph create a hauntingly poetic sense of ‘pure Dada’. 

Portrait of Picasso
Portrait of Duchamp
Man Ray began to give the greater part of his time to Portraits, and had many well known artists and poets sit for him.  After Man Ray found success in portraiture, he met Kiki of Montparnasse.  Penrose describes their relationship,

 “Their life, full of intimacy and affection, was perpetually stimulated by the brilliance and intelligence that was current in Paris during the twenties.  Cafe life was animated by foreigners from all parts, but Man Ray was right in choosing as his first love in Paris a girl who combined the passionate temperament of the French with natural elegance and devastating wit. She could be enchantingly vulgar or disarmingly sensitive.”  

Kiki inspired many new works for Man Ray, perhaps most well known, Violin d’Ingres 1924... 

Violin d'Ingres 1924

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