Man RayL'Enigme d'Isidore Ducasse 1920, remade 1972

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Artwork details

Man Ray (1890‑1976)
L'Enigme d'Isidore Ducasse
Date 1920, remade 1972
MediumSewing machine, wool and string
Dimensionsobject: 355 x 605 x 335 mm
Acquisition Purchased 2003


L’Enigme d’Isidore Ducasse, 1920, remade 1972, consists of a sewing machine, wrapped in a blanket and tied with string. Man Ray’s idea of using a sewing machine was inspired by a simile used by the French writer, Isidore Ducasse (1809-87), better known as the Comte de Lautréamont, ‘Beautiful as the accidental encounter, on a dissecting table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella’. It was a phrase that was greatly admired by the writers in Paris with whom Man Ray was close friends and who formed the nucleus of the Paris dada and later surrealist groups. They saw it as paradigmatic of a new type of surprising imagery, as well as replete with disguised sexual symbolism… (read more)

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