MAN RAY

Le violon d'Ingres, 1924

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The artist

«I started off as a painter. By photographing my canvases, I discovered an interest in reproducing. 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. I need to experiment in one way or another.» Man Ray, 1890-1976  ... See more See less

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About the artwork

From his arrival in Paris in 1921, Man Ray met the eulogists of surrealism and Kiki of Montparnasse. This cabaret artist, painter and film actress was also the model, muse and lover of famous artists. She became Man Ray?s companion and his favourite model for more than five years. Though, at first, Kiki was reticent to pose for Man Ray. Indeed, if there was nothing indecent about posing for a painter or a sculptor, photography was then a support reserved for pornography. Kiki of Montparnasse posed nude, sitting, back to the camera. She is wearing a turban. This photograph can be interpreted as a tribute to a painting by Ingres entitled The Turkish Bath (1862). Kiki?s sensual figure is reminiscent of the odalisque musician, from the back, in the foreground of the painting by Ingres. For an ultimate ?mise en abîme? of the 1862 masterpiece, Man Ray retouched his photograph. He drew the sound holes of a violin on the back of his model with graphite and Indian ink. This connection between the body of the woman and a musical instrument illustrates the theme of the unusual, dear to the surrealists.

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Date photograph was taken

23 July 2015

Artwork subject

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