The work of Charles Ray forces a double-take, a reexamination of what is seen and experienced, offering a “reality” that is immediately graspable but ultimately fugitive. No is a framed self-portrait of Ray from the waist up, hands folded at his chest. At first, the work appears to be a straightforward photograph of the artist, but closer examination reveals it to be the image of a fiberglass dummy made very convincingly in Ray’s likeness. A nod to Surrealist formulations of the uncanny, the work is a testament to the unsettling hybrid oeuvre that Ray has compiled over the course of four decades, a body of work that seeks to disrupt the normal order of things, offering a sense that “reality” is at once immediately graspable and ultimately fugitive.
Charles Ray (b. 1953, Chicago; lives and works in Los Angeles)
Color photograph in artist’s frame
38 x 30 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Gift of Lannan Foundation