Man Ray

France

Emmanuel Rudzitsky, the future Man Ray, was born in 1890 in Philadelphia (U.S.A). After his secondary education, he studied freehand drawing and industrial design. In 1912, Man Ray began his professional career as an illustrator in advertising. Whilst preparing for his first painting exhibition in 1915, Man Ray was not satisfied with the professional reproductions presented to him. He therefore launched himself into photography in order to satisfy his own standards of criteria and soon became a master photographer.
"I started off as a painter. By photographing my canvases, I discovered an interest in reproducing them in black and white. One day, I decided to destroy the original and only keep the reproduction. From then on, I never stopped believing that painting is a dated form of expression, and that photography will replace it when the public is educated visually …For me, one thing is certain, I need to experiment in one way or another. Photography enables me to do so, in a simpler and faster way than painting."
For Man Ray, the painter with modernist tendencies, photography became the means of expression of modern art par excellence. The technique replaced the notions of representation for the artist and the latter, free from these contingencies, was able to explore new means of expression. He identified with the American branch of the Dada movement but from 1920 concluded that Dada cannot live in New York. It was in 1921, that he came to Paris and from the evening of his arrival, Marcel Duchamp introduced the photographer to the surrealist artists Aragon, Breton, Eluard… In 1925, Man Ray participated with Arp, Ernst, Masson, Miro and Picasso in the first surrealist exhibition. For 30 years, when he was based in Montparnasse, the artist revolutionised photographic art. He passed away in Paris in 1976.  Buried at the Montparnasse cemetery, the epitaph Unconcerned, but not indifferent is written on his grave.