Like many Surrealist objects, Emak Bakia materialized from a combination of chance discovery and artistic invention. Man Ray found the elegant amputated neck of a double bass at a flea market and paired it with the long, flowing hair of a horse. The light gray horsehair feminizes the instrument's curvaceous forms and is the material typically used to make its bow. Man Ray's enigmatic Basque title for the work, which translates as "leave me alone," is adapted from his 1926 film of the same name. As the title underscores, this object is ultimately an instrument of frustration, from which no music will ever flow.
Gallery label from The Erotic Object: Surrealist Sculpture from the Collection, June 24, 2009–January 4, 2010.