What we all miss
Painted/patinated clay and iridescent blown glass
Signed and titled "Ce que manque à nous tous. Man Ray" undated
H : 15 cm L : 18 cm
(Some dirt on the body of the pipe, slight crack at the base of the glass bubble)
The 1963 and 1973 editions being numbered or annotated (EA, HC), one could reasonably think that our copy was one of the pieces made by Man Ray around 1935/36 and not quantified to this day, however, the Man Ray committee certifies the work as being made around 1970.
This work will be included in the catalogue raisonné of Man Ray's objects and sculptures currently in preparation.
- Arturo Schwarz, Man Ray: The Rigour of Imagination, London 1977, no. 341, p. 219, reproduction of the 1936 copy
- Man Ray : Objets de mon affection, Paris 1983, pp.143-4 n° 39, page.42
- J.-H. Martin, B. Hermann, R. Krauss and Man Ray, Man Ray, Catalogue raisonné, Sculptures et objets, Objets de mon affection, Paris, 1983, pp. 143-144, no. 39 (another illustrated version, p. 42)
- R. Penrose, Man Ray, London, 1975, p. 206, no. 125 (another illustrated version, p. 190).
A certificate of authenticity will be issued to the purchaser.
According to Arturo Schwarz, Man Ray's dealer and author of a monograph on him, the title derives from a quotation by Engels, one of the founding philosophers of communism, 'What these gentlemen lack is dialectic' ('Ce qui manque à tous ces messieurs c'est la dialectique'), reproduced in capital letters on the cover of the Surrealist group's magazine, La Révolution surréaliste (Paris, no. 8, 1 December 1926). The concept of the work dates back to 1927 when the Surrealist Gallery, Paris, announced the production of editions of this and other fantastic objects by several artists. It is questionable whether Man Ray made more than one of the twenty editions announced during this period, and it is believed that the original prototype was soon lost. In 1935 and 1936, examples of this iconic Surrealist object were made and a replica was included in the Surrealist Exhibition of Objects held at the Galerie Charles Ratton, Paris, in 1936. Two years later, Man Ray included a version of this object as an accessory in the wig of a human-sized mannequin, a contribution he was asked to make to the 1938 Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme as a major Surrealist artist.
According to the catalogue, the work was known as Ce qui nous manque à tous, a slightly different title but with the same meaning. The exhibition was accompanied by a theoretical text by the leader of the Surrealist movement, André Breton (1896-1966), which described the many types of Surrealist objects and how they "disrupted and distorted" conventional conceptions of reality. In the 1930s, the Surrealist object was conceived largely in terms of a psychologically charged notion of desire and in light of the Surrealists' poetic tests of the descriptive role of language. Man Ray's objects, however, generally expressed a lighter, more playful vision. This object was given life by nothing more substantial than air and the play of light.
on the surface of the iridescent glass which, like a photographic lens, can reflect an inverted image of the surrounding reality.
Unlike Salvador Dalí (1904-1989), for example, Man Ray did not explore the psychoanalytic roots of personal obsessions and fantasies.
personal obsessions and fantasies. His objects were not "objects of desire" but rather, as he put it, "objects of affection".
Man Ray's objects, which he called "Objects of My Affection," are among the most revered of all Surrealist objects.
Composed of an everyday object, this clay pipe was rectified by Man Ray who added a blown glass bubble. The
combination of these two objects, a possible chance meeting, is an example of the humour present in surrealist objects,
particularly those of Man Ray. Here he creates the illusion of a pipe giving off smoke represented by the bubble. It is the typical example
of the surrealist object which often consisted in taking an object of the everyday life and to transform it by changing its function. Any
Any attempt to use the pipe for its original purpose becomes futile, just as getting air to flow through it for smoking is impossible.
Despite Man Ray's status as one of the pioneering figures of interwar art, his objects are not particularly well known.
known. This is largely due to his greater fame as a photographer.