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Watch One Of The First Dadaist Films by Man Ray

20th century

Watch One Of The First Dadaist Films by Man Ray

Man Ray was an American visual artist who spent most of his career in France. He was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal. He produced major works in a variety of media but considered himself a painter above all. But he was best known for his photography. Like this one:

Man Ray, Glass tears, 1932 © Man Ray Trust / ADAGP - PICTORIGHT / Telimage - 2013

Man Ray, Glass tears, 1932 © Man Ray Trust / ADAGP – PICTORIGHT / Telimage – 2013

In 1923, when Man Ray lived in Paris he directed a film: Le Retour à la Raison (English: Return to Reason). It consists of animated textures, Rayographs (which was a type o photogram) and the torso of Kiki of Montparnasse (Alice Prin), who was artists lover at the time, Man Ray’s model and celebrated character in Paris bohemian circles. The movie is one of the first Dadaist films.

Man Ray, Noire et blanche (Black and white), 1926, Black and white photographic print. © Man Ray Trust / ADAGP - PICTORIGHT / Telimage - 2013

Man Ray, Noire et blanche (Black and white), 1926, Black and white photographic print. © Man Ray Trust / ADAGP – PICTORIGHT / Telimage – 2013. Kiki de Montparnasse posed for this photo.


You can watch this experimental film below. It is a long series of unrelated images, revolving, often distorted: white specks and shapes gyrating over a black background, a light-striped torso, a gyrating eggcrate. It may look weird at first sight, but keep in mind it was created in 1923. It must have been mind blowing then! A true avant garde.


Art Historian, founder and CEO of DailyArtMagazine.com and DailyArt mobile app. But to be honest, her greatest accomplishment is being the owner of Pimpek the Cat.

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