Looking at Man Ray’s contribution to fashion photography, I think of the influence of Surrealism, which often eerily imbues his pictures with mystery. I am also struck by his fascination for the face of the models, which he treats like landscapes one should decipher. The sense of self is never assertive, and this comes perhaps from his Dada background. I am reminded of a work which is in my personal collection called ‘Self-Portrait’ that he first created in the mid-1940s, using a flexible metal sheet that he placed in a frame. The piece mirrors the face of anyone looking at it and therefore represents a work that anyone can relate to, and ultimately become a part of since each person's experience becomes so personalized. This ability to leave all possibilities of interpretation open is very much at the heart of his practice.
Mr Thaddaeus Ropac, Director of Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery