Views of the Spirit is an exhibition of photographs by Man Ray. It is the first time the legendary 20th century photographer’s work is being exhibited in India.
The exhibition, first showcased in August 2014 at Mondo Galeria, Madrid, is a tantalising taste of Man Ray’s vast oeuvre. The photographs on display cut across the timeline of his prolific career while also providing an insight to his thematic engagements and photographic techniques. These include ‘solarization’ – a photographic process using overexposure of the film negative and ‘rayography – a process that creates images without a camera by placing objects on a photosensitive paper exposed to light.
Man Ray, while most certainly one of the central figures of the narratives of Dadaism and Surrealism, was also the most significant documenter of these extraordinary movements. His position at the helm of this creatively dynamic moment is made evident through the still lifes and portraits find a place of prominence in this exhibition. The still lifes betray Man Ray’s unquestionable mastery over the Surrealist lexicon. The portraits capture a galaxy of 20th century Zeitgeists including Marcel Duchamp, Salvatore Dali, Andre Breton and Coco Chanel. Man Ray’s portraits of his assistant and muse – the scintillating Lee Miller, are a study in art direction as well as a testament to his particular eye for the female form.
This exhibition endeavours to bring forth the tour de force that was Man Ray. His images were born in the unique atmosphere of collaboration and camaraderie that defined the avant-garde circles of Paris and New York. May Ray’s vast body of work changed the course of photography in the 20thcentury, taking the genre from a documentary tool to an art form that brought alive the space between the real and fantastical. Views of the Spirit has been made possible with permission from the Man Ray Trust ADAGP.
About the artist
Man Ray, recognized as one of the greatest photographers of all times, occupies a prominent place in the history of 20th century art. Some of his photographs have become emblematic and inescapable. As a great visionary, he was one of the first to use photography not simply as a means of documentation, but as a true medium for creation.
Ray had his first solo exhibition in 1915, the year he met Marcel Duchamp, who encouraged him to experiment with techniques such as collage and assembly. He began his career as a painter but driven by Duchamp, Man Ray moved to Paris in 1921. He joined the Dada Movement and then the Surrealists. Around 1921 he began to work in photography, closely following the work of Moholy-Nagy, since both worked with three-dimensional and mechanical pieces. It was in Paris that Ray discovered that his painting career was not as productive as his photography. He became dedicated to photography and portrayed relevant figures in the art world and the bourgeoisie. They are portraits where the personal expression of the person portrayed dominates the image.