The subject of our “alter egos” has been deeply analyzed in all fields and has for centuries been the subject of much art and legends. The feeling that there are perhaps other personalities that we can change into – sometimes willingly, sometimes not – are ideas we all easily entertain but rarely spend the time to create. So there are times when I suddenly realize I am alone – working in my office late into the night, and tonight with a big storm pouring rain and strong winds outside the windows, the feeling is even stronger that the only one(s) here is Me, and Myself…and I…
The exhibition here at the Galleria is open. People are here to see the photographs of Christopher Makos who is known for his time spent working with Andy Warhol and photographing New York’s creative scene. Makos came through my offices earlier, all dressed in beautiful pink roses, to see the Man Ray self portrait.
It is a Man Ray photo that has accompanied me all my working life – from wall to wall – job to job – change after change. Christopher particularly liked it as he had actually apprenticed with Man Ray in Paris.
The Makos’ Exhibition focuses around “altered images”. This is a series of pictures Makos took of Andy Warhol in 1981 that were inspired by Man Ray’s pictures of “Barbette” and “Rrose Selavy”. In two days of intensive shooting, Makos reveals more about an Andrew Warhola – Andy Warhol – few ever saw or knew.
Jean Cocteau, author, artist, film maker and master of alteration of egos in his art, commissioned Man Ray to take a series of photographs of the acrobat Vander Clyde – known as Barbette. The two artists chronicled the acrobat preparing for his physical transformation into Barbette before a performance. Barbette becomes neither a woman, nor a man, but a performer of such transcendent grace that he/she is adored by everyone who loves beauty, no matter what their gender.
Here, Rrose Selavy, Marcel Duchamp’s female alter ego, photographed by Man Ray in 1921. I presented an exhibition of these works of Many Ray at the Galleria in 1993; I was very disappointed that at the time no one really wanted to decipher these amazing masterpieces! The name was a pseudonym Duchamp used for some of his works. The meaning was in saying the name out loud: R-rose – c’est la vie – Eros – this is life. And the eternal hiding of oneself beneath the veil of another gender.
But Duchamp wanted to be recognized as well.
Although Rrose Selavy is totally adorned in women’s clothing the obvious masculinity beneath the wig clearly shows Duchamp’s masculine features.
On the left, a photo taken by Man Ray of a card designed by Duchamp for use in his Optic Machine and film Anemic cinema. On the right, a photo of Duchamp taken “in advance of the broken arm”, 1915. Both artists enjoyed exploring and recording each other’s creative process – pushing limits of creativity.
Surrealist Man Ray created a sculpture that looked like a chandelier, but gave no light. This contributed to the growth and development of mobiles in the ’20’s
Here, Man Ray’s Obstruction. Built up from many coat hangers in a system of mathematical progressions where one hanger, plus two, plus three, going onward, until almost a whole room was “obstructed” with hundreds of hangers oscillating in an amazing equilibrium.