A Cinematic Artist: The Films of Man Ray by Kim Knowles

By Kim Knowles

The yankee artist guy Ray used to be probably the most influential figures of the old avant-garde, contributing considerably to the advance of either Dadaism and Surrealism. while his pioneering paintings in images guaranteed him overseas acclaim, his task in different parts, significantly movie, is to at the present time either unknown and undervalued.
During the Nineteen Twenties guy Ray made 4 brief experimental motion pictures and collaborated on a number of different initiatives with humans akin to Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger, René Clair and Hans Richter. those works, besides a sequence of cinematic essays and residential videos made throughout the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties, signify an important contribution to the improvement of an alternate mode of filmmaking within the early 20th century. This ebook explores guy Ray’s cinematic interactions from the viewpoint of his interdisciplinary creative sensibility, developing hyperlinks among movie, images, portray, poetry, song, structure, dance and sculpture. through exposing his preoccupation with shape, and his ambiguous dating with the politics and aesthetics of the Dada and Surrealist pursuits, the writer paints an intimate and complicated portrait of guy Ray the filmmaker.

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Extra info for A Cinematic Artist: The Films of Man Ray

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76 This tension between chance, repetition and control can equally be understood in relation to the rayograph technique and its use in the film. Between chaos and order: Le Retour à la raison 45 It is safe to say that the objects used in the rayograph sections of the film would have been selected with some foresight as to the kind of visual impression they would leave once the strips had been developed. With this in mind, is it by chance that a single drawing pin is juxtaposed with multiple nails, producing a kind of visual harmony?

34 The answer, in the realms of cinematic expression, seemed to lie in the ability to fragment and rearrange the hierarchies of experience and to Between chaos and order: Le Retour à la raison 25 lay bare the mechanical and ideological workings of the medium. Dada film thus provides a critique of cinema’s claim to truth and reality by revealing it to be a construct of modern technology. Yet, as the following analysis of Le Retour will demonstrate, this necessarily leads to the creation of new visual experiences that, whilst challenging the illusory nature of film, also point towards a politically and aesthetically progressive use of its materials.

21 This contradiction, which in many ways brought about the Dada movement’s ultimate dissolution, is at the heart of Man Ray’s film, ef fectively demonstrating its complex positioning and thwarting any attempt to discuss it exclusively in terms of its destructive qualities. Although Zurich and the Cabaret Voltaire are the widely accepted origins of Dada, a similar attitude was being expressed in New York as early as 1915 through the activities of Francis Picabia, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. ’23 Whilst encouraging their American counterparts to reject traditional forms of expression, Picabia and Duchamp were in turn inf luenced by their new surroundings, which gave a characteristic slant to their works and indeed to New York Dada more generally.

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