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

By Kim Knowles

The yankee artist guy Ray used to be essentially the most influential figures of the old avant-garde, contributing considerably to the improvement of either Dadaism and Surrealism. while his pioneering paintings in images guaranteed him overseas acclaim, his job in different parts, particularly 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 alternative tasks with humans corresponding to Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger, René Clair and Hans Richter. those works, in addition to a chain of cinematic essays and residential videos made throughout the Twenties and Thirties, signify crucial contribution to the improvement of another mode of filmmaking within the early 20th century. This booklet explores guy Ray’s cinematic interactions from the point of view of his interdisciplinary creative sensibility, growing hyperlinks among movie, images, portray, poetry, track, structure, dance and sculpture. via exposing his preoccupation with shape, and his ambiguous courting with the politics and aesthetics of the Dada and Surrealist events, the writer paints an intimate and complicated portrait of guy Ray the filmmaker.

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

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By taking away the cinematic apparatus and submitting the filmmaking process to the laws of chance, Man Ray rejects the very basis of the art form, just as he had rejected the conventions of photography by the same means. Although Le Retour demonstrates a turn away from the structures of conventional filmmaking, the use of chance as a creative method does not automatically equate to the destruction of logic, as argued by Rudolf Kuenzli for example. Although he describes his application of the rayograph process to the strips of film in terms of a random and inattentive method and a lack of knowledge about the final result, Man Ray was not entirely ignorant to the ef fects that could be created with dif ferent kinds of objects.

What must be considered, then, is whether turning away from the use of narrative as an organising principle necessarily constitutes an act of rejection. Referring again to Kuenzli’s definition of Dada film, in which he states, ‘Dada films are radically non-narrative, non-psychological’, it can be deduced that there is a predominant tendency to view films that do not deal with narrative as ‘non’ narrative, ‘anti’ narrative, in other words specifically in opposition to narrative, an attitude that is most often understood in terms of Dada’s anti-art programme.

Chance, logic and order Chance – submitting oneself to unknown, unmediated forces – was of crucial importance to the Dada movement since it was the principal means by which logic and order could be overthrown. The privileging of chance in the creative process was generally understood as bringing about a more truthful representation of reality through the suppression of rational thought. Automatism, as it became known during the Surrealist years,64 referred to the act of speaking, writing, drawing or painting in a spontaneous manner or ‘without thinking’.

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