Solarized Cinema | Movies | Weekly style
Light up the fur covered popcorn: It’s a surreal movie night!
A cinematic version of his “Man Ray: The Paris Years” exhibition, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ Man Ray & Friends film night will feature surreal short films by the legendary photographer, as well as works by two of his illustrious friends, Marcel Duchamp. and Jean Cocteau.
“He was actually called ‘Man Ray, The Maker of Bad Movies,’ and his movies are a lot of fun,” said VMFA chief curator Michael Taylor, who will host the Feb. 11 screenings. “We know you can see these movies on YouTube, but you really need to check them out in a theater.”
Born in Philadelphia and raised in the Bronx, Emmanuel Radnitzky — Man Ray — was an active figure in the French avant-garde of the 1920s and 30s. His work as a filmmaker is eclipsed by his prolific and lucrative output as a still photographer. , but his abstract, primitive and improvisational films could be just as creative and inspiring, says Madeleine Dugan, exhibition research assistant at VMFA. “You learn by watching them that you don’t have to take yourself too seriously. You can just have fun and something beautiful can come out of it.”
On the program, three short silent films that the photographer made in Paris — “Retour à la raison” (1923, L’Etoile de mer (1928) and “Les Mystères du Château de Dé” (1929) — as well as Anemic Cinema” (1926) by Dada pioneer Marcel Duchamp and Jean Cocteau’s “The Blood of a Poet” (1932). There are links between the films. Man Ray was an assistant on “Anemic Cinema” “, a short film that includes the proto-psychedelic “Rotoreliefs” of Duchamp. Man Ray.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has made one of its most memorable recent acquisitions when it purchased some 50 portrait works by Man Ray, making it one of the largest holders of the artist’s work in the world. United States. “Man Ray: The Paris Years” features the new VMFA collection as well as numerous loans from other institutions and collectors (including Sir Elton John). It will end its run at the museum on February 21.
The Man Ray & Friends movie night complements the main exhibit, Taylor says, as it shows another side of the famed photographer – the experimenter who delved into pure nonlinear imagery. “Man Ray was first a member of the Dada group and then Surrealism, and the show really captures both of those arcs. Dada and Surrealism encompasses chance, accidents, and he never believed that was his job to tell a story. If you look for a beginning, a middle and an end in his films, well, the beginning could be at the end.”
“Man Ray & Friends Film Night: Meaningful Logic Goes Without Saying” will be held Friday, February 11 from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Leslie Cheek Theater at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. $8 ($5 members) www.vmfa.museum