A Man Ray Legacy

Simon Payne / Kathryn Ramey / Ursula Mayer

Gallery of Modern & Contemporary Art, San Gimignano

Among the godfathers of experimental and avant-garde film, Man Ray (1890, Philadelphia - 1976, Paris) produced a rich and diverse body of work including photography, painting, sculpture, printmaking, poetry, and prose. The most enigmatic of the Dada-Surrealists’ legacy is still powerfully felt and continues to inspire many film-makers nearly a century later.

Conceived in conjunction with Man Ray: Wonderful Visions—more than 100 original silver gelatin photographs on view at the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in San Gimignano through October 7, 2018—the group exhibition A Man Ray Legacy: Ursula Mayer, Simon Payne, Kathryn Ramey considered the legacy of Man Ray’s cinema through the lens of contemporary art, highlighting the ongoing relevance of his work for three contemporary artists.


The exhibition included an iconic selection of Man Ray’s Dadaist and Surrealist shorts from 1923 - 1929 in conversation with recent experimental films and installation works by Ursula Mayer, Simon Payne and Kathryn Ramey. The featured works play with notions of construction and improvisation to question our interpretation of the world through systems of language, knowledge, objects and information, highlighting how the visual disruption created by the Dada filmmakers in the 1920s provided a legacy of aesthetic language for the cinematic experiments of future generations of avant-garde artists.

Left: Installation view: Reason’s Code (Simon Payne, 2016).

Right: A still from The Lunch in Fur / Le Déjeuner en Fourrure (2008) Courtesy of Ursula Mayer and LUX, London.

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Man Ray, Retour à la raison

France, 1923, b/w, 2’

Man Ray, Emak Bakia

France, 1926, b/w, 17’

Man Ray, Les mystères du Château de Dé

France, 1923, b/w, 25’





Simon Payne, Reason’s Code

UK, 2016, b/w, 7’


UK, 2016, b/w, 5’

Ursula Mayer, The Lunch in Fur / Le Déjeuner en Fourrure

UK, 2008, colour, 7’30’’