Curated by: Walter Guadagnini, Giangavino Pazzola
“Only from Man Ray could we expect the Ballad of the women of the present time”, wrote André Breton about the female portraits of the genius born in Philadelphia in 1890, who landed in Paris in 1921 and became the absolute protagonist of the Dadaist seasons first and then surrealist.
From 17 October 2019 to 19 January 2020, CAMERA - Centro Italiano per la Fotografia pays tribute to the great master with the exhibition "wo / MAN RAY. The seductions of photography" which will contain about two hundred photographs, taken from the 1920s to his death. (which took place in 1976), all dedicated to a specific subject, the woman, the primary source of inspiration for his entire poetics, precisely in its photographic declination.
On display some of the images that made the history of twentieth century photography and that entered the collective imagination thanks to Man Ray's ability to reinvent not only the photographic language, but also the representation of the body and face, the genres themselves of the nude and of the portrait. Through her rayographs, solarizations, double exposures, the female body is subjected to a continuous metamorphosis of forms and meanings, becoming an abstract form, object of seduction, classical memory, realistic portrait, in an extraordinary - playful and very refined - reflection on time and on the ways of representation, photographic and not only. Assistants, inspiring muses, accomplices in various steps of this life and intellectual adventure were figures such as those of Lee Miller, Berenice Abbott, Dora Maar, with the constant, unavoidable presence of Juliet, the lifelong companion to whom he is dedicated. amazing portfolio "The Fifty Faces of Juliet" (1943-1944) where we witness his extraordinary transformation into many different figures, in a game of affection and seduction, quotes and provocations. But these women were, in turn, great artists, and the exhibition will also focus on this aspect, presenting a body of works, referring in particular to the Thirties and Forties, namely those of their most direct association with Man Ray. and with the environment of the Parisian Dada and Surrealist avant-garde.
Here then are the splendid portraits of the protagonists of that season by Berenice Abbott, the alienating visions of everyday life by Lee Miller and Dora Maar: figures, all of whom today obtain the deserved awards for their artistic work, within a general revision of the ways of narrating the history of twentieth century art.
Portraits taken between 1926 and 1938 in Paris and New York, capitals of avant-garde art of the first half of the twentieth century, such as the iconic one to Eugene Atget or James Joyce , will be on display to represent the work of Berenice Abbott . Dora Maar - to whom in the same period of the exhibition Center Pompidou and TATE Modern will dedicate the first major world recognition - will be present with works attributable to a language of street photography and landscape as in Gamin aux Chaussures Dépareillés (1933). The investigation of the female body will be the focus of Lee Miller's work, with numerous self-portraits and nudes of models and models who worked with her in both research and fashion photography. A unique exhibition, therefore, both for the quality of the photographs on display and for the innovative approach in the biographical and artistic juxtaposition of the protagonists of these events.
A large repertoire of images available to the public made possible thanks to the collaboration with numerous national and international institutions and galleries from the CSAC of Parma to the ASAC of Venice, from the Lee Miller Archive of Sussex to the Mast of Bologna to the Marconi Foundation in Milan. Realities that have contributed, both with loans and with their scientific skills, to make this reconnaissance of one of the most innovative periods of the twentieth century as comprehensive as possible, with authentic masterpieces of photographic art such as the Electricitè portfolios (1931) and the extremely rare Les mannequins . Résurrection des mannequins (1938), unique testimony of one of the crucial events in the history of surrealism and exhibition practices of the twentieth century, the 1938 Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme in Paris. Curated by Walter Guadagnini and Giangavino Pazzola, the exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog containing the reproduction of the works on display, essays by the curators and other scholars, as well as essential bio-bibliographic notes.