Pierre Cordier's Chemigram

Belgium artist Pierre Cordier is known as the pioneer of the chemigram in establishing it as a form of artistic expression. A chemigram is where substances are used on light sensitive paper as an artistic medium in the form of painting on oil, varnish or wax, and combining these materials with the chemistry used in the darkroom. To develop images that look very abstract and often resemble watercolour paintings.

Pierre Cordier's work is very intricate which I find particularly interesting as I really don't know exactly how he achieves such precision and detail. Whether he has used something to manipulate the light hitting the paper or dripped the product on delicately I do not know. To me his pieces look like woodcarvings which is emphasised by the use of earthy colours, for example the piece above reminds me very much of some kind of organic forms such as mushrooms because of the use of curves and the use of the colour brown in various shades. The use of pattern in Cordier's work gives a real sense of rhythm and mood to his pieces as if they were made with the intention of being some kind of album artwork being influenced by music and sound.

Inspired by Cordier's chemigrams I went and created some of my own trying to focus on circular shapes like those used in some of Cordier's work and using substances such as tea, mayonnaise and bleach. Once I had assembled my substances onto a piece of photographic paper I then exposed the paper to 4 seconds of light. Then I painted on a high concentration of developer onto the paper to create a higher contrast of shadows and highlights on my chemigrams, to really emphasise the shapes created by the materials rather than show a great deal of tone.

In reflection I like the high contrast I used on the chemicals such as bleach and tea on the photographic paper. However next time I want to experiment more with how I apply the developer and fixative and  also try adding more substances together on my paper and think more about composition and intricacy like in Cordier's work.

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