Man Ray Conversano

“Unconcerned but not indifferent”.
The originality and the irreverence of Man Ray displays at Aragonese Castle in Conversano.

The Man Ray Art is the guest of honour at the castle of Conversano, from July 15 to November 19.

Over 100 works featured in photographs, paintings, drawings and sculptures for an extraordinary journey immersed in the originality and extravagance of an artist who inspired many, over the years, imitating no one.

Artes Cultural Association, in collaboration with the Studio Marconi Foundation in Milan, the Municipality of Conversano and the Man Ray Trust organized the exhibition. It is divided into eight different thematic areas which, following a chronological order, revive the different styles and techniques of the American artist, Emmanuel Rudzitsky. He’s better known as “Man Ray”, born in Philadelphia in 1890 and in the United States completes his art studios. Since childhood, he shows a rebellious nature, completely out of the ordinary; he said about "It was like when I went to school as a child, when everyone told me what to do. I did, however, already do what one should not do ".

In 1914 he bought his first camera and in 1921 followed Duchamp, his great friend, in France and here he will found his real home.

In fact, Man Ray never considered himself a photographer. Moreover, for him photography was his bread and butter to get into the world of the French upper middle class; he met many well- known faces of the time that chose him to be eternalised by a camera; for example James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso. "I paint what cannot be photographed and I photograph what I do not want to paint “. So, he considered the photograph clearly inferior to the art of the painter, whose figure seemed to be the most useful to society, or at least the least damaging.

In the first of the five rooms dedicated to the artist’s work, there are the assemblies, the objects to which Man Ray gives a soul, a meaning. Among them there is Cadeau, a cast iron flat iron to which the artist added 14 nails to the bottom, just shortly before exhibiting it for the first time in Paris, in 1921, where he was stolen; he later replicated about 5,000 copies. This is also the case of Metronome, also known as The indestructible Object, a metronome by the way. At the tip of the metronome, the artist glued the photograph of an eye, as if he wanted to combine the work of the painter who, like the musician, gives a rhythm to his brushstrokes and the eye of the spectator watching him.

The exhibition trail continues with graphic production where the lithography L'Homme Infini, who gives the name to the exhibition, finds its honour place; a dehumanization of man and the endless possibilities reserved to him; an exemplary stratification of the many expressions and trends from which Man Ray get inspired over the years, without ever belonging to any of these.

Continuing with the visit, do not miss the two sections Artists and Self-Portrait Friends and Muse and Models, dedicated to the photographic works depicting friends, muse and models that over the years inspired the artist. Of all, the unforgettable work is the Violon d'Ingres, who portrays his favourite model and lover Kiki de Montparnasse, real name Alice Prin, a famous French singer.

For an artist who never considered photography a worthy boon, It’s ironic, as the show closes with another photo exhibition, this time dedicated to his life partner, the American dancer, Juliet. She was portrayed in 50 different poses, she appears unrecognizable and lends herself to her partner’s photographic lens, in a triumph of experimental games designed to symbolize the incredible potential of the female universe.

So all the works of Man Ray are thought - by quoting his own words - to entertain, bore, disconcert, confuse and inspire reflection, mixing all the arts together, as things merge into real life.

Man Ray died on November 18, 1976 in Montparnasse, his soul place and here he still rests; on his stony little words: "Unconcerned but not indifferent - Man Ray - 1890-1976 - love Juliet".

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