Man Ray Kiki with African mask 1926

Kiki with African mask 1926

In May 1926 French Vogue published a photograph by Man Ray accompanied by the elegant description ‘Mother of Pearl Face and Ebony Mask’. Set among the pages of fashion, advertising and glamour, this image of an exquisite, shell-like face resting gently on a table beside an African carving formed an arresting and sophisticated image. The woman is Kiki, model, artist and Man Ray’s lover and muse.  As its first published title suggests, the work is concerned with the contrasts and associations created by juxtapositions: human body and inanimate object; white and black; the modern world and traditional life; France and Africa.