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Man Ray Case Study

Decent Essays
Chapter 4. Case Studies
(I) Man Ray - Gun with Alphabet Stencils (1924) The below artwork was done by Man Ray, a pioneer in the 20th century and a leading figure in both Dada and Surrealist art movements (Phillipscollection.org, 2017). Although Man Ray considered himself as a painter, starting from the late 1910s, he began his devotion to photography (The Art Institute of Chicago, 2017). Through his playful experimental approach to motion and visual puns, these elements defined the characters of his work of art. Long before film photography and today’s digital camera age, Man Ray used a range of media to portray his artwork - he empowered viewers to discover the meanings behind each work.
(Man Ray - Gun with Alphabet Stencils - 1924)
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Whether knowingly or unknowingly, these X-ray like circular shapes can be anything in the minds of the viewers, interpreting the meaning of this image in a number of different ways. Marcel Duchamp stated that "It was his achievement to treat the camera as he treated the paintbrush, as a mere instrument at the service of the mind” (Biography.com, 2017). In addition, the photogram might seem expressive and abstract, yet on the contrary, it is the precise medium to document the everyday objects in an unrepeatable and somehow uncontrollable way. The artist cannot predict how the selected objects will be recorded under the light sources that were tampered with. From the first glance, the image completely dissociated from its original subject, allowing one’s memory to fill the gap. Yet below its surface, the image is an accurate documentation that captured a moment of psychical intensity. It revealed a new visual experience, using objects in the simplest way. One can say that the use of this medium disclosed reality more preciously due to its invisibility and mysterious representation (The Museum of Modern Art, 2017).

(II) Andreas Gursky - Rhine II (1999) Looking at another example, the photograph below was created by Andreas Gursky, a German photographer known for his large-scale landscape colour photographs captured from a high point of view (Tate,2017). The photograph portrayed the river Rhine just outside
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