Larmes de verre, 1932

About this photograph

Man Ray liked to practise it: he photographed his fantasies. In 1932, he produced Les Larmes. Man Ray photographed an eye close-up. The long eyelashes with mascara indicate to us in no uncertain terms that it is the eye of a woman in tears: the tears are represented by glass pearls. After meeting Lee Miller his assistant and lover in 1929,the artist?s photographs were either explicitly erotic or pornographic. At a time when Sade?s work was rediscovered, Man Ray staged attached women, tortured? sexualized women who were suffering. Beyond a tribute to Sade and a reference to his own fantasies, the surrealist photographer treated the eternal theme of Eros and Thanatos, when desire and a death wish are one.

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The Artist

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. 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 photo-graphic art. He passed away in Paris in 1976. Buried at the Montparnasse cemetery,the epitaph Unconcerned, but not indifferent is written on his grave.

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