New Malaga photo exhibition of American avant-garde pioneer Man Ray set to wow audiences with captures of surrealism – and Spanish artists

MALAGA welcomes a new photo exhibition showcasing the weird and wonderful work of legendary American photographer and avant-garde artist Man Ray.

Born Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia in 1890, Man Ray is celebrated for his works after World War I that set the artistic tone of the period.

He is a famed pioneer of both the surrealist and dadaist movements that emerged in response to the industrial slaughter of the Great War, which he showcased through nudes and portraits.

Man Ray’s ability to capture the human body is evident in his nudes, which were shocking for the period.

Two of Man Ray’s most famous works, featuring photos of Catalan artist Joan Miro (left), 1932, and El violín de Ingres (right), 1924, which will be highlights of the exhibition. Credit: Carmen Thyssen Museum

The exhibition, at the Carmen Thyssen Museum, predominantly features female figures who were the artist’s friends, lovers, and muses, such as Kiki de Montparnasse. 

The famous photograph ‘Le Violon d’Ingres’ is one of the highlights of this exhibition.

The display is divided into three main themes: nudes, portraits, and Man Ray’s signature ‘rayograms’ – camera-less photographs made by placing objects on photosensitive paper and exposing them to light. 

One of Man Ray’s famous and unique works, ‘Rayograma‘ from 1966. Credit: Carmen Thyssen Museum

These ‘rayograms’, including eight from the series ‘Champs délicieux’ (1922), highlight Man Ray’s experimental approach, transforming everyday objects into bewildering and novel images.

The portrait and fashion photography segment of the exhibition showcases Man Ray’s mastery and reputation, featuring famous personalities from 1920s and 1930s Paris, including Spanish contemporaries like Miró, Dalí, Buñuel, Juan Gris, and Picasso. 

The exhibition also includes a case with thirteen portraits and self-portraits of Man Ray, providing a playful and ironic counterpoint to the display.

A famous nude entitled Lee Miller from 1930. Lee Miller was an American photographer and a model who became Man Ray’s muse, collaborator, and lover after moving to Paris in 1929. Credit: Carmen Thyssen Museum

Lourdes Moreno, the museum’s artistic director, emphasised the significance of the exhibition, stating: “With this project in Sala Noble, we once again claim the rightful place of photography in our mission to promote artistic dissemination. 

“This time, we do it with an essential figure in 20th-century art: Man Ray.” 

Moreno added that ‘Man Ray. Selected Photographs’ offers a fresh perspective distinct from previous exhibitions at the Carmen Thyssen Museum, showcasing the work of an artist who navigated between dadaism and surrealism.

The exhibition, which opened on January 29, will run until April 21.


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