Man Ray



At the time of these experiments with light, Man Ray was working late into the night in an improvised darkroom, developing the plates he had exposed during the day, and making contact prints on sheets of paper spread out under the glass negative on a table lit by an electric light bulb hanging from the ceiling. It was this primitive set up that resulted in a startling new development in photography, when Man Ray inadvertently placed a few objects on a sensitized sheet under the light. To his surprise, an image grew before his eyes on the paper under the light, “not quite a simple silhouette of the objects, as in a straight photograph, but distorted and refracted by the glass more or less in contact with the paper standing out against a black background, the part directly exposed to the light.” The excitement of his invention of the Rayograph, as Man Ray decided to call it, prompted him to declare these works as “pure Dada.” To this, Man Ray added forty years later in an amplified portfolio of Rayographs: “Like the undisturbed ashes of an object consumed by flames, these images are oxidized residues, fixed by light and chemical elements, an experience, an adventure, not an experiment. They are the result of curiosity, inspiration, and these works do not pretend to convey any information.”

On view

Artist Man Ray
Date 1923
Medium Rayograph, gelatin-silver print
Dimensions 28.8 x 23.5 cm
Credit line Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York)
Accession 76.2553 PG 69a
Collection Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Type Photograph

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On view

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