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Photogram - Chladni Figure 5

Chladni Figure 5

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    1983 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Derges, Susan, born 1955 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin-silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Chladni Figure Number 5. Susan Derges. Copyright of the photographer

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This photograph is a photogram, made without the use of a camera, when an object or substance is placed directly onto photographic paper and its shape recorded when the paper is exposed to light. In this instance, Derges placed a sheet of photographic paper onto a metal surface with a quantity of Carborundum powder on the top of the paper. The metal plate was vibrated with a sound frequency and the sand reacted to the vibrations by settling into the shape that you can see in the light areas of the print. Once the photographic paper had been exposed with a flash light, the powder was removed and the print developed to reveal the incredible and unpredictable pattern that the powder and vibrations had created.

Physical description

A black and white photogram depicting a chladni figure in the form of abstract shapes.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


1983 (made)


Derges, Susan, born 1955 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin-silver print

Marks and inscriptions

'Susan Derges 1983'
Signed and dated in ink on the reverse

'"Chladni Figure: 5" aluminium plate 1.5 mm and Ilfospeed 4.24m at 500 Hz with carborundum powder'
Inscribed in ink on the reverse

'"Chladni Figure 500 Hz" Susan Derges'
Inscribed on a label


Height: 45 cm, Length: 45 cm, Width: 45 cm

Descriptive line

Photogram by Susan Derges, 'Chladni Figure 5', gelatin-silver print, Japan, 1983

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints, Drawings and Paintings Accession Register for 1990

Production Note

This work is a camera-less photograph made using photographic paper covered with a thin coating of fine sand. This is vibrated with a cello bow causing the sand to migrate to points of relative stillness on the plate. The resulting pattern is called a chladni figure.




Silver gelatin process; Photogram; Gelatin-silver




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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