Icons. Famous Photos In Miniature.

last year for Paris Photo 2014 at the Grand Palais, Swiss artists Jehoiakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger recreated a series of historical famous photographs in miniature. The photos capture the icons and guiding stars of photography’s 175 years in existence. Starting with the first photo made by Nicéphore Niépce in 1827, to a spectators snap shot of the twin towers on September 11, 2001.



Every field has its icons, guiding stars, which reflect the spirit of time in form, media and content, and resume the time history. So the photography as well.

175 years lay between the private photographer’s glimpse on the backyard in Burgundy Chalon-sur-Saône by Nicéphore Niépce in 1827 and the impotent spectator’s perspective on the exploding Twin Towers in New York. One icon is the result of a long scholar research for the original, for the mythical fountain of photography. The other picture of 9/11 is the beacon of a clash of cultures, the destruction of a myth with which each cinematic fiction has been outbid. Both photographs – as well as others: Wright Brothers on their first powered flight in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, the fateful march of the British in 1916 near Ypres, the singular resistance against state power on the Tiananmen Square in 1989 in Beijing, the end of civil supersonic flying with the crash of the Concorde in Paris in 2000 – are reference images from which the historical importance or the question of reality can be examined. After 2001, the medium of photography has lost a lot of authenticity due to its digital, any changeable structure. You can trust the pictures even less than before; Reality can also be constructed, even twice: see Loch Ness.


Just because the iconic power of reference images is sacrosanct they suit for parody. Cortis & Sonderegger wide photographically resized venues again as spatial events. It is a mischievous design of deconstruction. Subsequently, the model is again reduced to the photographic surface, a reproduced second-order reality. While leading the visual track in a localizable past, at the same time battling this renewed (photographic) reality with her fading memory and becomes a claim without regard to the original artifact. World history degenerates into a playground, framed with the props from the studio, toolbox and archive. Just the cynical diminutive for short story points out that world history was as just not, even if we perceive it so from afar, mediated by icons.

Fritz Franz Vogel”

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