Man Ray. The fifty faces of Juliet 1941 - 1955
Man Ray was one of the most unpredictable, genial, brilliant, anti-conventional, contradictory, impertinent, challenging and eclectic figures in the history of 20th century art. In this show, created in collaboration with the Marconi Foundation of Milan, fifty portraits of the artist's wife Juliet Browner, who he photographed between 1941 and 1955, will be presented. The Fifty Faces of Juliet was conceived by Man Ray in the early 1950's as a book in honour of his wife Juliet, but also as a selection of photographic works begun in Los Angeles in 1941. Fifty photographs, original prints using different techniques and styles, some hand-coloured, in various sizes that Man Ray dedicated to Juliet, the definitive muse of his life.
Many of the techniques invented by Man Ray, such as solarisation, over-development, dithering (retinatura) and grains obtained in the shooting or printing phase, were applied in the series with Juliet. Since painting remained his great passion, he thought it was a good idea to touch up his photographs with coloured and treated pastels drawn directly onto the paper. It is for this reason that the series The Fifty Faces of Juliet is unique in its kind; in fact it shows all the abilities of an artist who uses every expressive means at his disposition to reach the sublimations of his own ideas. The portraits of Juliet are for the most part informal; some are focused on her face: faces that are luminous and gathered out of time, superimpositions of photographs that are dreamy and romantic, sensual and daring. Others are refined investigations into the silhouette of the female form: never ordinary, rather classical in the poses and similar to works by painters like Ingrès or Vermeer.
The Fifty Faces of Juliet is the story of a love and of a lifetime. Fifty portraits in which the image of Juliet is each time invented, rewritten, modified, exalted with the mark of the pencil, a graphic effect, superimposition of a piece of cloth, a transparent veil, a mask obscuring the face, her face framed with a large winged hat, revealed in her nudity, transformed into an embroidery.