By Kim Knowles
The yankee artist guy Ray was once essentially the most influential figures of the ancient avant-garde, contributing considerably to the advance of either Dadaism and Surrealism. while his pioneering paintings in images guaranteed him overseas acclaim, his job in different components, significantly movie, is to this present day either unknown and undervalued.
During the Nineteen Twenties guy Ray made 4 brief experimental motion pictures and collaborated on a bunch of alternative initiatives with humans comparable to Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger, René Clair and Hans Richter. those works, besides a chain of cinematic essays and residential video clips made in the course of the Twenties and Thirties, characterize an important contribution to the improvement of an alternate mode of filmmaking within the early 20th century. This publication 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 courting with the politics and aesthetics of the Dada and Surrealist routine, 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
The term probably seemed appropriate to Man Ray at the time as his cinematic projects with Duchamp not only departed radically from the organised and polished nature of conventional filmmaking, but also often produced disastrous results. ’33 Yet despite this, the medium of film attracted very little attention amongst the Dadaists and few films were made during the movement’s most prolific period. The cinematic experiments undertaken by Man Ray and Duchamp in New York can thus be seen as the earliest attempts to incorporate the moving image into the Dada project and to highlight the dualistic nature of cinematic representation evoked by Elsaesser.
It is from this perspective that rayographs can be seen to open themselves up to the forces of chance, but also to the notion of negation, both crucial aspects in existing accounts of Le Retour. In his autobiography, Man Ray remembers the manner in which he went about creating the extra rayograph footage for the film, stating: Acquiring a roll of a hundred feet of film, I went into my darkroom and cut up the material into short lengths, pinning them down on the work table. On some strips I sprinkled salt and pepper, like a cook preparing a roast, on other strips I threw pins and thumbtacks at random; then turned on the white light for a second or two, as I had done for my still Rayographs.
Indeed, in the case of Le Retour, the absence of a traditional narrative structure is considered primarily as a Dadaist device. As we have seen, most accounts of the film highlight the negative connotations inherent in such an approach. However, what I would like to propose here is that the concentration on exclusively visual elements outside of narrative concerns does not automatically translate as ‘anti-narrative’. Clearly there is a need for a new theoretical perspective that goes beyond the narrative/ non-narrative divide and acknowledges the unique position of particular films as occupying their own space, more or less removed from that of narrative film.