Local songwriter Andrew Trotter recently visited Man Ray–Human Equations while taking part in a songwriting challenge. “When I walked in, I knew there had to be a song there. After I wrote the lyrics for the challenge, trying to capture some of the qualities of Man Ray’s art, my musical collaborator from Canada, Natalie Edelson, put it to appropriately surreal music and made a demo,” says Trotter. He was kind enough to share the final product with us; check out the demo and an excerpt of the lyrics below.
White skull, pale breast
Object, soft flesh
Is that what you meant?
Won’t you come down to play,
The artists at the cafe
Are making their moves
On lovely young things today.
You pictured a derriere,
Each part of her is fair,
But this butterfly you’ll never get,
Slipped out of your camera’s net.
What is this game you play,
Why don’t you let things stay
As they are—you’re pushing it way too far.
(left) Man Ray, Shakespearean Equation, Merry Wives of Windsor, 1948. Oil on canvas, 24 x 18 1/8 in. Private Collection, Courtesy Fondazione Marconi, Milan. © Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris 2015 (right) Mathematical Object: Imaginary and Real Part of the Derivative of the Weierstrass ℘–Function, c. 1900. Plaster, 6 1/2 × 8 × 5 7/8 in. Brill-Schilling Collection. Institut Henri Poincaré, Paris. Photo: Elie Posner
Man Ray explained that the mathematical model of an elliptical function in this Shakespearean Equation reminded him of “the group of merry wives of Windsor getting together to gossip and laugh.” A former Phillips intern remarked that the artist’s dash of color in his interpretation of this mathematical model really does make it merrier.
We’ve been loving all of the incredible submissions to our InstaManRay in-gallery experience inspired by Man Ray’s photos of mathematical equations. Visitors to Man Ray–Human Equations can snap photos of 3D printed mathematical models and share them via Instagram (see a previous roundup here).
Some of our favorites have been photos that use the mathematical objects as frames. What do you spy in these photos? See more by following the projects Instagram account @InstaManRay2015 or #InstaManRay.