This year's opening exhibition at the Anna Wenger gallery is entitled "Pierre Cordier and Gundi Falk. The chemigram".
It is already more than 60 years since the Belgian artist Pierre Cordier (*1933 in Brussels) invented the physicochemical chemigram process on November 10, 1956, thus adding an enriching chapter to the history of photography. A chemigram is produced on silver bromide gelatine paper, in daylight without a camera, by chemical interaction with the developer and fixer fluids. With some tricks, the artist can control this process like an alchemist, letting the creative power of chance play its role. A chemigram combines the elements of painting (oil, varnish, wax) with those of photography (photosensitive emulsion, developer, fixer). In contrast to conventional photographs, which can be duplicated from a negative, chemigrams are always unique. With this groundbreaking invention, Cordier joined the ranks of experimental photographers such as Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, who in the 1920s invented new techniques such as photogrammetry and solarization.
The post-war years in Europe, especially in the context of Subjective Photography (Otto Steinert) and Generative Photography (Gottfried Jäger), brought a growing interest in concrete photography, a photographic process that is not meant to depict reality, but rather presents a self-referential and otherwise unrelated image. At the beginning of his artistic career Pierre Cordier spent a semester studying with Otto Steinert in Saarbrücken and participated in the third and final exhibition Subjective Photography 3 (1958).
Ten years later he co-founded Generative Photography together with Gottfried Jäger, Hein Gravenhorst and Kilian Breier, and took part in an exhibition of the same name - which was also the manifesto - in Bielefeld art gallery.
This extraordinary art movement draws on the theories of the Stuttgart philosopher Max Bense, according to which art can also be created through machines and algorithmic instructions. The program is also of crucial importance in the works of Pierre Cordier, especially as the approach to image formation is determined from the outset.
The artist's works in recent years have been decisively influenced by Austrian artist Gundi Falk (* 1966 Salzburg), whom Cordier met in 2011 during a demonstration at the Musée des Beaux-Art de Belgique in Brussels. Gundi Falk had previously been working in Asia, focusing on calligraphy, painting and sculpture. Since then, numerous collaborations of the two artists have emerged, which have been shown in New York, Brussels, Berlin, Paris, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Series of works have been created in which music sheets and quotes from Nietzsche can be found in a playful cryptographic imagery. Image titles such as "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.