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Anxiety
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© Man Ray Trust ARS-ADAGP

Man Ray
American, 1920
Gelatin silver print
3 11/16 x 4 3/4 in.
86.XM.626.7

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One of Man Ray's guiding principles was "to do the things that one is not supposed to do," and here it seems he has used the camera to make a picture of something intangible, an emotion. Man Ray explored photography's potential in the realm of abstraction, photographing a cloud of smoke gathering around a found-object sculpture in his New York studio. By manipulating his camera, he blurred the subject beyond recognition and created a sense of velocity and disequilibrium. The enigmatic title denies the existence of a recognizable subject in the photograph. Unknown to the viewer is the fact that Anxiety (L'Inquietude)is the name of the sculpture in the photograph, making this a craftily anti-documentary document of the three-dimensional piece.