Artist, photographer, and innovator, Man Ray is feted as a creative polymath, one who experimented with all available mediums as well as pioneering his own methods, including 'rayographs' – a method of solarised photo printing that, with typical élan, he named after himself. Despite considering himself primarily a painter, it is his extraordinarily beautiful photography that has resonated most strongly down the ages, as represented by the fact that London is currently hosting two exhibitions of his photographic works; one at the National Portrait Gallery, the other at ATLAS Gallery.
Working across surrealism, Dadaism, fashion and portraiture, Man Ray photographs are by turns strange, witty and exposing. Marcel Duchamp said, "It was his achievement to treat the camera as he treated the paint brush, as a mere instrument at the service of the mind." For Ben Burdett, curator of the show at ATLAS, "he was the first artist to combine multiple forms of visual expression into one statement. The means of expression becomes almost incidental in the desire purely to provoke thought or inspiration in the viewer."
Here to celebrate the multiplicity of Man Ray, we display a large gallery of his images, alongside a round up of our favourite statements made by this most influential of artists.
1. “It has never been my object to record my dreams, just the determination to realise them.”
2. “I paint what cannot be photographed, that which comes from the imagination or from dreams, or from an unconscious drive… I photograph the things that I do not wish to paint, the things which already have an existence.”
“I paint what cannot be photographed, that which comes from the imagination or from dreams, or from an unconscious drive…"
3. “It’s all one thing in the end — giving restlessness a material form.”
4. “All critics should be assassinated.”
5. His epitaph reads, “Unconcerned, but not indifferent.”