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.
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