What Memes Owe to Art History
Edition of 5000 copies (each one has a certificate numbered and signed).Signed, dated and numbered on handle. Edition by Luciano Anselmino, Torino; made by Giorgio Barutti, Venezia.
Cadeau or ‘Gift’ by Man Ray is one of the famous icons of the surrealist movement. It consists of an everyday continental flat iron of the sort that had to be heated on a stove, transformed here into a non-functional, disturbing object by the addition of a single row of fourteen nails. The original Cadeau was realized in 1921. This example is one of 5000 edition realized in 1974 by Luciano Anselmino, Torino;
The story of the making of the original Cadeau is described by Man Ray in his autobiography. On the day of the opening of his first solo exhibition in Paris he had a drink with the composer Erik Satie and on leaving the café saw a hardware store. There he bought the iron, some glue and some nails, and went to the gallery where he made the object on the spot. He intended his friends to draw lots for the work, called ‘Cadeau’, but the piece was stolen during the exhibition. Today there are some different editions of this famous artwork.
Arturo Schwarz wrote about the Cadeau: “Gift is a typical product of Man Ray’s double-edged humour. Its sadistic implications need not be stressed. Its erotic aspect is revealed by Man Ray’s remark: ‘You can tear a dress to ribbons with it. I did it once, and asked a beautiful eighteen-year-old coloured girl to wear as it as she danced. Her body showed through as she moved around, it was like a bronze in movement. It was really beautiful.
Man Ray’s intentions, which might be seen as merely to deride the iron’s functions are much more subtle. Man Ray never destroys, he always modifies and enriches. In this case, he provides the flatiron with a new role, a role that we dimly guess, and the probably accounts for the object’s strange fascination”. (Arturo Schwarz, Man Ray: The Rigour of Imagination, London 1977, p.208)
The work is in a little case (cm 30.8 x 15.9 x 16)
Signature: Each one has a certificate numbered and signed.Signed, dated and numbered on handle.
Man Ray: Object de mon affection, published by Philippe Sers with an introduction by Jean-Hubert Martin, Paris 1983.
Born Emmanuel Radnitzky, Man Ray adopted his pseudonym in 1909 and would become one of the key figures of Dada and Surrealism. One of the few American artists associated with these movements, Ray was exposed to European avant-garde artists like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque at Alfred Stieglitz’s New York gallery and at the 1913 Armory Show. Ray’s photographic works are considered his most profound achievement, particularly his portraits, fashion photographs, and technical experiments with the medium, such as solarization and rayographs (an eponym for his photograms), which were celebrated by the Surrealists. “I do not photograph nature,” he once said. “I photograph my visions.” In 1915 he was introduced to Marcel Duchamp, who would become a lifelong friend and influence; he subsequently moved to Paris, practicing there for over 20 years.
American, 1890-1976, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
What Memes Owe to Art History
10 Photographers Who Captured the Romance of Paris, from Brassaï to Cartier-Bresson
The Pivotal Role That Women Have Played in Surrealism