Galerie Anna Wenger is pleased to open the Gallery Season with the exhibition "the chemigram” with works of Pierre Cordier and Gundi Falk. On November 10, 1956, the Belgian artist Pierre Cordier (* 1933 Brussels) invented the physico-chemical process of the chemigram. With this invention he was adding an important chapter to the history of photography.
The chemigram is the result of a cameraless work on silver-gelatin paper and is a combination of components of a painting (oil, varnish, wax) and a photograph (photosensitive emulsion, developer, fixative). In contrast to conventional photographs which can be duplicated, chemigrams are always originals.
With his profound experience, the artist subtly controls the work process like an alchemist. Every chemigram strikes a delicate balance between control and chance. This unique approach stands out from well-known techniques such as painting, photography or computer painting.
With this groundbreaking invention, the artist joins the tradition of experimental photographers such as Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, who in the 1920s, invented new techniques such as photogram and solarization. During the post-war years in Europe, specially in the context of ‘Subjektive Fotografie’ (Otto Steinert) and ‘Generative Fotografie’ (Gottfried Jäger), people increasingly began to deal with ‘Konkrete Fotografie’, a photographic process which is not intended to depict reality, rather presenting a nonfigurative, abstract image.
At the beginning of his artistic career, Pierre Cordier studied a semester with Otto Steinert in Saarbrücken and took part in his third and last exhibition ‘Subjektive Fotografie 3’ (1958). Together with Gottfried Jäger, Hein Gravenhorst and Kilian Breier, he became ten years later co-founder of ‘Generative Fotografie’ and exhibited with the same title at Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany. This extraordinary art movement draws on the theories of the philosopher Max Bense from Stuttgart (Germany), according to whom art can also be created through machines and algorithmic instructions. In the works of Pierre Cordier, this program is Chimigramme 19/10/12, 50x50cm, work on paper of crucial importance, since the artistic approach of creating an artwork is already determined from the outset.
Recent works of Pierre Cordier are significantly influenced by the Austrian artist Gundi Falk (*1966 Salzburg). The encounter with Gundi Falk and her unique way of working has inspired Pierre Cordier and has led to resume his creative production. Thanks to this fruitful cooperation a whole new dimension has opened up. Since then the chemigram has significantly evolved as can be seen in the latest works displayed, which have never been shown before the current exhibition at Gallery Wenger. Series of works have been created in which quotes from Nietzsche and music sheets can be found in a playful way in a cryptographic imagery. Image titles like "Boustrophédon" invite the viewer to change the reading order line by line. Images initially appear as labyrinthine ornaments and turn out surprisingly as encrypted texts.
The collaborations of the two artists form the main part of this exhibition, in addition, individual historical works by Pierre Cordier and recent individual works by Gundi Falk can be seen.