Freelance writer and journalist with a strong weakness for narrative journalism, old movies, new theater and everything London. Oh, I'm also a full-time walker https://walkinlondon.wordpress.com/
Man Ray's Hall of Fame
For those new to Man Ray's oeuvre, this exhibition is a great first lesson, but it's also a treat for those advanced in the life, work and tribulations of one of the greatest artists of the last century.
The fans will probably spend double the normal time in there, smiling uncontrollably with every new step taken, discovering some works never seen before in UK, some of his groundbreaking studies of Barbette, Catherine Deneuve, Ava Gardner, Lee Miller, Kiki de Montparnasse, the famous solarized portraits, personal and intimate portraits of friends and lovers.
As he himself admitted, photography was not his principal artistic medium, but like many love affairs, his world had indeed been turned upside-down. The 150 vintage prints taken between 1916 and 1968 are displayed chronologically. Scattered through the black and white photos are a few colour ones taken mainly in the last years of his life, original magazine covers and clippings. The exhibits are richly explained, with details about the context and the subjects.
This exhibition is also a treat for those who wish they lived in Paris during the 1920s. You'll find yourself staring at the portraits of Man Ray's most celebrated contemporaries: Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, Antonin Artaud, Picasso, Dali, Chanel, (a very young) Hemingway, Matisse, the Dadaists ... There's much more, but I'd better stop with the spoilers.
It won't be easy to erase from your memory those iconic portraits, the stories behind them, and the artistic twists of a wizard turning photographs into masterpieces, unaffected by a billion devices and one click away effects.