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Gelatin silver print, Rayogram
24 x 18 cm (image)
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
Register number: AD02056
Curatorial description, Almudena Cruz Yábar (Accessed: 13 May 2015)
Man Ray coined the word ‘rayograph’ – after his alias – to describe a technique of cameraless photography used since the 19th century in which a one-off image is obtained of the outline of an object placed on photosensitive paper and exposed to light. The American photographer began to use this method in 1922 shortly after moving to Paris, adding a three-dimensional quality through the use of graded tones. André Breton included the rayogram in the first edition of Le surréalisme et la peinture (Surrealism and Painting) in 1928, as an example of an exceptional Surrealist work, dubbing it Pensée de la femme (Thought of Woman). Within an egg-shaped form alluding to the female head, we see the enigmatic beauty of everyday objects, whose transformation, like linguistic displacement, fascinated the Parisian avant-garde.