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Photograph - Chemigram 25/1/66 V

Chemigram 25/1/66 V

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Belgium (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1966 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cordier, Pierre, born 1933 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chemigram on gelatin silver photographic paper

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of the artist, 2010

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In 1958 Pierre Cordier briefly studied with influential experimental photographer Otto Steinert. However, Cordier is self-taught, and this was the only formal photography course that he attended. Nevertheless, two years earlier, he had conceived of the 'chemigram' process. Working like a painter, he replaces the canvas with photographic paper. Changes in shape and pattern are created by introducing what he describes as 'localising' products, including varnish, wax, oil, glue, syrup, egg and other materials. The physical reactions of these layers, often made after repeatedly dipping the paper in developer and fixer, are registered on the photosensitive emulsion. Over many years, Cordier has explored the random patterns and variations of deliberately authored marks produced in the chemigram in a manner suggesting the rigorous sustained enquiry of experimental scientific research. At the same time, his works are aesthetic objects that carry their own visual and technical vocabulary.

Cordier's influences include the artists Paul Klee, Max Ernst and Saul Steinberg, commercial silkscreen printing, historic photographs, African Kuba Shoowa textiles and computer art, in addition to musical notation, written texts - notably by Jorge Luis Borges and Georges Perec - poetry and philosophy.

This chemigram draws attention to its surface. The image recalls shattered glass, either implying an attempt to break through to a world beyond the barrier of the window, or reminding us that, in reality, the surface is all there is to see.

Physical description

An abstract image of radiating lines produced on gelatin silver paper using the 'chemigram' process.

Place of Origin

Belgium (probably, made)


1966 (made)


Cordier, Pierre, born 1933 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Chemigram on gelatin silver photographic paper


Height: 70.9 cm paper, Width: 55.9 cm paper, Height: 71.7 cm frame, Width: 56.7 cm frame

Descriptive line

Photograph, chemigram on photographic paper, abstract image, 'Chemigram 25/1/66 V', Pierre Cordier, 1966.



Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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