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The forms of Contre la photographie by Pierre Alechinsky evolve beyond their borders, making it appear completely formless.

Pierre Alechinsky
Contre la photographie, 1969

What is ‘form’?

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This is the question when you consider this abstract work.

The artist tries to answer this in his spontaneous style, inspired by East Asian calligraphy. By allowing certain forms to evolve beyond their boundaries, they come across as formless.

Alechinsky, related as he is to the Cobra movement, explores the boundaries of reality and has restored formlessness by painting it. However, he knows very well that photography as well as painting and graphics creates an illusionary image on a flat surface. Here he masterfully challenges the idea of photography as art because photography is a demonstration of a piece of reality framed by the camera that, in view of the objectivity of the process, makes a claim to factual knowledge.

Alechinsky stunned the medium of photography with his spontaneous written language of faces, bodies and ornaments to succeed in showing reality and at the same time an illusionary alienation from reality. The meaning does not only emerge from the content and the form, but from the materiality of the medium itself.