Three views

Occupations and Evasions (Man Ray)

Dimensions158 cm x 50 cm x 55 cm
Materials Cast glass, carved glass, brass, copper, wood, and pencil on white paint

Many of the details in this piece are derived from wide variety of Man Ray’s work as a painter, photographer, sculptor, and filmmaker. This diversity made him rare in the Art world.

An integral member of the Dadist and Surrealist movements he always considered himself first and foremost a painter, although history will show that the largest and most innovative part of his work was in the realm of photography. I have chosen to rearrange by drawing one of his best known paintings the 1916 work, “The rope dancer accompanies herself with her shadows” The drawing on the other side of the base is a re-composition of two drawings made for the book “Les Mains Libres” a collaboration with the Poet Paul Eluard in 1937. The two carved glass panels in the base are from photographic works. On the left, “cliché verre”, a process whereby scratching on exposed film to make it clear, the film is then exposed to light on photo paper to produce a drawn photograph. On the right, “space drawing”, a technique whereby rapidly moving a penlight a darkened room, the image is reproduced photographically using a very slow shutter speed. 74 years after Man Ray created these first light drawings the photographer Ellen Carey discovered Man Ray’s signature in the drawing. One can also see the abstracted outline of the seated figure making the drawing. The carved wood object is from a piece called “The enigma of Isidor Ducasse” where Man Ray wrapped a sewing machine in an army blanket. The imagery comes from a line in “Les Chants de Maldorer by Comte de Lautréamont the pseudonym of Isidor Ducasse, “He is fair as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella”.

This incredible diversity can be summed up in his quote, “It has never been my object to record my dreams, just the determination to realize them.