American photographer of Russian Jewish origin, born, with the name Emmanuel Rudnitzky or Radinski, on August 27, 1890 in Philadelphia and died in Paris on November 18, 1976.
He began painting at the age of five, and two years later, he moved to Brooklyn with his family, where he went to school. He received a scholarship to study architecture and rejected it, as well as the idea of an academic education. In New York he worked as engraver and an advertising agency, while attending evening classes at the National Academy of Design. His first contacts with the New York avant-garde occur in visits to the Gallery of Alfred Stieglitz and the gatherings of the Arensberg.
In 1914 he married Adon Lacroix, a Belgian poet. His first solo exhibition takes place at the Daniel Gallery in New York in 1915. He founded, together with Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia, the New York Dada. In 1918 she worked with Airbrushes on photographic paper and in 1920, with K. Dreier and M. Duchamp, he founded the Société Anonyme. He settles in Paris until 1940, and there centralizes the Parisian Dada. When surrealism is separated from Dada in 1924, Ray is one of its founders, and is included in the first surrealist exhibition at the Galerie Pierre in Paris, in 1925. Inspired by his model and lover Alice Prin, known as Kiki of Montparnasse, makes Le Violon d'Ingres (1924). As a pioneer of Dada and Surrealism his approach is characterized by the irrational and incongruous, causing eroticism and scandal.
His personal photographs are the result of the different experiments. It is especially known technique to obtain the images by printing of x-rays, images which he called Rayography, 1921, photographic images taken without a camera, (abstract imagery with objects exposed on a sensitive paper to light and then revealed). It also makes portraits, in fact becomes photographer portrait of personalities of culture.
Interested also in the cinema, it he directed several short films and some films of avant-garde, as the Estrella de Mar (1927), between the years 1920 and 1930. Does Dada objects as Object to be Destroyed in 1923, a metronome with an eye photography seized the needle. In the 1930s made the solarization series, exposed to light, photographic negatives and still painting in a surrealist style; He published several volumes of photos and rayografos. In 1936 his work is present in the exhibition fantastic art, Dada and Surrealism of the Museum of modern art in New York. In 1940, escaping the occupation nazi Paris, settled in Hollywood and New York, and returned to France in 1951. During his stay in California makes a living teaching as a professor.
The fertile production of Ray eludes NET categorizations and reflects its agile and humorous sensibility. Between paintings and photographs should include films, objects, collages, prints, drawings, advertising design and fashion. As a pioneer of Dada and Surrealism his approach is characterized by the irrational and incongruous, causing eroticism and scandal. "The search for freedom and pleasure; that occupied all my art", he will say. In 1963, he published his autobiography; before his death, the Metropolitan Museum in New York dedicated a retrospective to his photographic work (1973). He died on November 18, 1976, in Paris.
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