Ever since the invention of the Daguerrotype in the middle of the 19th century artists have been experimenting with the new art form: photography. PHOTO, from the Greek – “light” and GRAPHY, from the Greek – “drawing”. Soon enough it became apparent that just as many of them were interested in finding ways of manipulating the medium contrary to its intended process. By the early 20th century when the world was re-examining and reinventing its approach to, among everything else, the visual arts, artists like Man Ray, Germaine Krull, Erwin Blumenfeld, Maurice Tabard, and André Breton, actively altered the photographic process to illustrate all of its narrative potential.
galleryIntell interviewed Edwynn Houk, owner of the iconic eponymous Manhattan gallery in anticipation of the annual Art Basel Miami Beach international art fair where the gallery is showcasing its collection of Modern and Contemporary photography. Mr. Houk, (pronounced Há-ook) talked at length about the work of Man Ray – one of the seminal figures of Surrealism and a pioneer of many photographic techniques that often eliminated the camera altogether and focused instead on composing his visual narrative by employing various “post-production” techniques, including solarization, double exposure, and super-imposition of objects, etc.
One of the central story lines of our interview is the relationship between Man Ray and his muse Dora Maar, herself a photographer, painter and a poet. A famous figure in the history of 20th century art (she is most commonly mentioned as Pablo Picasso’s muse and lover) Maar, born Henriette Theodora Marković, figures prominently in Man Ray’s oeuvre and, as Mr. Houk tells us, was probably an active contributor to the final concept of each photograph.
And then there is that famous story of a soiree at the Café les Deux Magots, Brassai, Picasso and a steak knife…
This article and video © galleryIntell. Images courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery.