Man Ray – an-other Body

Man Ray (Emmanuel Rudzitsky 1890–1976) famous american surrealist-dada painter and photographer used to employ plaster casts in his art compositions by transforming their objective meaning. Never oversimplifying, but researching into the cast a symbolic element to use as a personal media of expression. The body of Venus becomes inanimate in plaster, and returns a body bringing it closer to the real body of a Woman. It is a slight distance with which Man Ray plays with a sensitivity as a Genius of Art.

The same cast of the Torso of Venus returns like a real body in imagination of male’s desire when it is brought tied by a rope in the Venus Restauree (right) of 1936. It takes a new meaning to every re-contextualization suggesting new ways, new visions and new points of view that surprise and disorient as the Venus Head covered by a rope net in Venus of 1937. These originals were lost and then Man Ray, in collaboration with the Galleria Schwartz in Milan produced 10 replica editions. At first Man ray required that the cast was made of synthetic resin with the look of marble by the Atelier Lorenzi, rue Racine in Paris, but then Schwartz got the cast of the Venus in plaster from a n Italian workshop and Man Ray did the assembly and ties the rope.

Often was told that these works of Man Ray were inspired by the paintings of Giorgio De Chirico. But in De Chirico’s paintings the classical statuary and plaster casts do not take new meanings, indeed especially they reinforce the symbol itself of the subject becoming in this way a cornerstone of the scene represented.
Rather I find more affinity with Man Ray’s works in the interpretations that made the Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio on his large collection of casts at the Vittoriale Villa on the Garda Lake in Italy. Playing around an original and eclectic style D’Annunzio gives  to the casts of classical an renaissance figures a totally unexpected appearance and a really new nature.


“In whatever form it is finally presented: by a painting, by a photograph, by an arrangement of various object, or by one object itself slightly modified, each object is designed to amuse, annoy, bewilder, mystify, inspire reflection  but not to arouse admiration for any technical excellence usually sought in another Works of Art.”

Man Ray