Man Ray

Man Ray was an artist who painted what he could not photograph and photographed what he could not paint. He was one of the most famous and original artists of the 20th century, renowned for revolutionising the art of photography.

Man Ray produced some of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century: eloquent portraits, dreamy solarised nudes, divine fashion photography and enigmatic images that continue to delight and astonish. Works such as Le Violon d’Ingres, made in 1924, Kiki with African mask, of 1926, or the exquisite 1932 Tears are now embedded within popular consciousness.

A superb technician and a highly inventive artist, Man Ray always denied that he had any ability with the camera or in the darkroom. However, as the exhibition reveals, this is clearly not the case. The exhibition emphasises Man Ray’s techniques of framing, cropping, solarising and use of the photogram to present a new ‘surreal’ way of seeing, which continues to fascinate audiences today.

This is the first large-scale exhibition of Man Ray’s photography to have been presented in Australia. Reflecting the most influential and productive years of Man Ray’s photographic output, the majority of the 200 works in the exhibition comprise vintage photographs made between 1917 and 1939. Divided into nine sections – New York & Duchamp, Films, Fashion, Portraits, Nudes, Objects, Rayographs, Landscapes and Documents – the exhibition provides an unprecedented opportunity to enjoy the work of one of the most important artists of the 20th century.

The exhibition is drawn from the collection of Lucien Treillard, who was Man Ray’s assistant in the last years of the artist’s life, the Musée Nationale d’Arte Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and the National Gallery of Victoria. The exhibition is co-curated by Judy Annear, Senior Curator of Photography at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Emmanuelle de L’Ecotais, Curator of Photography at the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.