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'Chemigram + Photogram'

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Belgium (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1958 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pierre Cordier, born 1933 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chemigram and photogram on gelatin silver photographic paper

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of the artist, 2010

  • Museum number:

    E.855-2010

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 512M, case MX23, shelf 1

  • Image unavailable

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 piece is among Cordier's earliest works. It combines the two forms of experimental photography: the photogram and chemigram. Fittingly, its cosmic yet small-scale appearance signals a new beginning, like a nucleus of energy before the Big Bang.

Physical description

Chemigram with circular abstract design surrounded by halo-like shadow on photographic paper.

Place of Origin

Belgium (probably, made)

Date

ca. 1958 (made)

Artist/maker

Pierre Cordier, born 1933 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Chemigram and photogram on gelatin silver photographic paper

Dimensions

Height: 13.2 cm, Width: 13.2 cm

Descriptive line

Photograph, chemigram and photogram on photographic paper, 'Chemigram + Photogram', Pierre Cordier, ca. 1958.

Labels and date

This piece is among Cordier's earliest works and combines the two forms of experimental photography: photogram and chemigram. Fittingly, its cosmic yet small-scale appearance signals a new beginning, like a nucleus of energy before the Big Bang

Categories

Photographs

Production Type

Unique

Collection code

PDP

Qr_O1226477
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