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Title: A cinematic artist : the films of Man Ray
Author: Knowles, Kim
ISNI:       0000 0001 3601 2087
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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Man Ray was one of the most innovative and diverse artists of the early twentieth-century. His oeuvre incorporates painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, poetry and film. Yet, his activity in the realms of the moving image remains undervalued and his role as a film-maker is generally overlooked, despite the fact that his films represent the greatest contribution to the development of French avant-garde cinema of the 1920s. Furthermore, when his films are discussed they are generally restricted to the discourses of Dada and Surrealism, leaving unexplored many vital areas, including how his approach to the cinema relates to early avant-garde film theory, and the exploration of the different ways he creates links between film and the other arts, notably photography. This thesis examines the four films made by Man Ray during the 1920's - Le Retour a la raison (1923), Emak Bakia (1926), L Etoile de mer (1928) and Les Mysteres du Chateau du De (1929) - and assesses them within the context of his wider artistic concerns. It represents one of the first studies to provide an integrated approach to these films, which looks for emerging patterns and similarities from one work to another. Whilst it explores their placement within the Dada and Surrealist movements, it ultimately attempts to take analysis beyond these parameters in order to uncover previously unexplored formal concerns, such as the interaction between movement and light and the tension between abstraction and figuration. Man Ray's initial intention to put his photographic compositions into movement can be seen as one of the strongest forces in his cinematic work and constitutes the central focus of this study. The central question to be asked is: can Man Ray's cinema be seen in terms of a unified approach that transcends the concerns of both Dada and Surrealism? The main argument to be developed is that there is a creative and visual consistency that can be uncovered from these works that demonstrates an extensive interest in the possibilities of film as an art and which paves the way for future developments in experimental cinema.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available