Man Ray: Artistic magician and discoverer

Poland?s first Man Ray exhibition will be appearing at the Museum of the History of Photography until June 17. The show includes forty images from the Man Ray Archive in Paris. The photo prints were made in cooperation with the Man Ray Trust from original negatives and with the same printing technique. As a bonus, 1200 photos will be presented in electronic form, as well as extracts from his movies and archival recordings of interviews.
Man Ray was an American artist, but he spent most of his career in Paris. He was an avant-garde photographer, who was instrumental both in the founding of Dadaism and Surrealism. In 1999, ARTnews, the oldest and most widely circulated art magazine in the world, recognized him as one of the 25 most influential artists of the 20th century. He was born in 1890 on the South-side of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and resettled in Brooklyn, New York in 1897. Man Ray used to say that ?Dada cannot live in New York? and as a consequence in 1921 he moved to Paris. He settled down in the Montparnasse, an artistic, bohemian quarter of Paris. He led a splendid life filled with women, famous artists and celebrities of the period. During the 20s, his lover and main model was Kiki de Montparnasse (AKA Alice Prin). In 1929, he met Lee Miller ? the Surrealist photographer, his assistant and life partner. Together with her, they perfected the ?solarization? technique. The method, which was also called the Sabattier Effect, had been invented in 1862 by Armand Sabattier. It entails wholly or partially reversing the tones of a photographic print, making the dark areas appear light and vice versa. Ray also invented the ?photogram,? an  image made without a camera by placing objects directly onto the surface of a photo-sensitive material and then exposing it to light. He called this technique ?rayographs.? After World War II broke out, he was forced to move to the USA. He lived in Los Angeles, but went back to Paris, where he died in 1976. Man Ray. Magician and Discoverer presents a general overview of Ray?s photos to familiarize visitors with the body of his work. There are several photos of flowers or hands representing the solarization technique and a few rayographs of geometrical objects. Nudes of Ray?s models Kiki de Montparnasse and Lee Miller are being exhibited along with images of the greatest celebrities of the time: Coco Chanel, Peggy Guggenheim, Gertrude Stein, Meret Oppenheim and Catherine Deneuve. Also on display are probably the artist?s best-known photos: Violon d?Ingres from 1924 which derives from French neoclassical painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, ?Noire et Blanche,? ?Le Baiser (The Kiss)? and ?Les Larmes (also known as, ?The Glass Tears?).
Exhibition Organizer:
?Positive Image? Foundation
Man Ray. Magician and Discoverer
(Until June 16)
Museum of History of Photography,
ul. Jozefitow 16

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