THE INFINITE OF PHOTO-CHEMICAL TRANSFORMATIONS
BLUE IMAGES WITH AN INDISTINGUISHABLE STATUS BETWEEN PAINTING AND PHOTOGRAPHY
CYANOGRAPHY, AN ANCIENT TECHNIQUE THAT HAS BECOME AN ALTERNATIVE ART FOR
Sometimes negatives, always light
Ideas, inspiration and the magic of the workshop
From chemistry to cyanide salts
a photosensitive paint
The gesture and the tools of the painter,
and a touch of Zen
The formula was perfected in 1842 by a brilliant scientist, John Herschel:
A – ferric ammonium citrate
B – potassium ferricyanide
These chemicals are each mixed with distilled water (A at 20% and B at 8%) then the 2 solutions are combined in equal parts to create a photosensitive emulsion, i.e. one that reacts to light.
The emulsion is greenish-yellow and turns blue after exposure to ultraviolet rays.
The emulsion is like a pigment, and can be worked with painting techniques such as washing, rubbing, spraying.
Effects of texture and intensity can be obtained by spreading the emulsion in several layers (like oil paint) and by playing with its dilution and concentration (like in watercolour).
To compose my cyanographies, I use the codes of Chinese painting and Japanese calligraphy regarding the balance between dry and wet and the importance of emptiness
Light – from the ancient Greek φωτoς “photo” – is a fundamental element of the process, it is necessary for cyanography to reach its blue range.
It is possible to shield the light with “matrices”, for example by placing one’s hand on the surface of the light during exposure. In the fixing-rinsing trays, a white silhouette then appears on the background which has turned blue.
When the matrix is a negative, the image then incorporates photo fragments, their appearance depends on how the emulsion has been spread.
Cyanography is confusing for those who think they are looking at a simple blue-and-white print or for those who look at a painting and see an unexpected photographic element.
It provokes many technical questions, this site gives answers but its goal is to make cyanography known as an art form, its history, its actuality.
I bet on the hybrid status of my cyanographies to associate several inspirations, to create polysemic images and to induce a variety of interpretations beyond the assembled figurative elements.