Man Ray: Fifteen Photographs

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of rare vintage photographs by MAN RAY. These photographs, admired and studied by scholars for many decades, typify the revolutionary trends set by Man Ray and his fellow participants in the Surrealist movement of the 1920s and 1930s.  Stunning in their iconographic stature, these vintage prints map Man Ray’s artistic progress from 1921, when he first moved from New York to Paris, through the early 1930s, by which time he was a leader among the Surrealists.  To study these photographs is to witness Man Ray’s uncanny ability to transform the ordinary into the fantastic.

Among the pieces on view during the exhibition will be the exceedingly rare large-format rayographs that Man Ray made at the beginning of his career as a serious artist.  As a way of seeing, this autobiographically named technique challenged conceptions of the physical world and its translation into visual media.  Of Man Ray’s style it is said:

The camera thereby became a way to shatter the fundamental ambiguity of the world.  As early as 1918, Man Ray used it not only to challenge standard conventions of perspective…but also to underscore the indeterminate nature of photographed reality.  Without wanting to assert a direct correlation between the publication of new scientific theories and the new visual idiom explored by Man Ray, his efforts now appear striking in the way they placed photography at the center of one of the major aesthetic debates of the day.  (Man Ray: Photography and its Double, p. 207)

Man Ray’s captivating rayograph of The Banjo is one such example displayed in the exhibition.  Also included in the show is the rare and intimate view Self-Portrait in Studio, the imaging of the self inherent both in the artist’s physical presence and in that of two of his rayographs depicted on his studio walls.