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After the Cantini Museum in Marseille in 2019 and the Luxembourg Museum in Paris in 2020, it is the turn of the Fashion Museum in Antwerp to show the fashion photographs of Man Ray, confronted this time-here, to the creations of contemporary stylists and photographers influenced by the work of the Surrealist, such as Martin Margiela, Helena Lumelsky, Olivier Theyskens, Dries Van Noten, and Dirk Van Saene.

© Man Ray
© Man Ray

Arrived in Paris in 1921 on the advice of Marcel Duchamp, met in New York after the scandal caused by his Nu descending the stairs at the Armory Show in 1913, Emmanuel Radnitsky, alias Man Ray, will be introduced by the pope of Dadaism and “anti-art” in the midst of the avant-garde and the all-Paris of the Roaring Twenties. Initially a worldly portraitist, he was solicited by the greatest designers: Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet, Coco Chanel, Augusta Bernard, and above all, Elsa Schiaparelli…

The sophistication and strangeness of his staging but also of the play of light and shadows, and his cropping, the dreamlike atmosphere created by the solarizations, colorizations, superprints, and other technical experiments conducted, elevated fashion photography, then still purely illustrative and utilitarian, to more artistic and poetic ground.

© Man Ray

Drawing, as a good Surrealist, from the source of dreams and desires, Man Ray will create in 1932 for a mascara brand his iconic photograph Tears. No less magical, her Hair falling in cascade from the head of a beautiful sleeping 1927, here brought into view with a jacket embroidered with hair designed by Olivier Theyskens (spring-summer collection 1999).

© Man Ray

Tilted perspectives, shots in a dive or dive… As part of the advent of a New Derealizing Vision of the World, Man Ray seems to want to reverse our gaze and grasp the hidden strangeness of reality. “Opening our eyes to the invisible is the goal,” he wrote in the surreal magazine.

« Man Ray & Fashion » – MoMu 

Nationalestraat 28, Antwerp (Belgium)

Until August 13, 2023