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Image of Space Writing (Self-Portrait) 9899


Man Ray (Emmanuel Radensky) (1890 - 1976, France)


Space Writing (Self-Portrait)

Creation Date



20th century


3 3/16 in. x 2 5/16 in. (8.1 cm. x 5.87 cm.)



Creation Place

North America, United States

Medium and Support

gelatin silver print

Credit Line

Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund


This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number

This photograph constitutes and is a record of Man Ray’s drawing with a penlight in space; the fluid tangle of loops and twists is made visible by the film’s prolonged exposure time. Working without sight and with extreme speed, Ray surrendered his creative process largely to chance. The method aligns with the Surrealist aim to express the subconscious by giving up control in a process often described as automatic writing, or “ecriture automatique.” Man Ray nevertheless claimed this drawing of light rays, with his signature in reverse, as a (punning) self-portrait.

  abstract   black and white   blurred   gestural   light drawing   portraits  

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