A primary form of photographic pictoring is the "Chemigramm," which is similar to the photogram and the luminogram. It is based on the reaction of photosensitive paper with developer and fixer and, therefore, on the photochemical reactions. It combines the physics of color (oil varnish, wax, oil) and the chemistry of photography (photosensitive layer, developer, fixer) without a camera, enlarger, or natural daylight.
The Belgian artist Pierre Cordier is the protagonist of this invention. In 1956, he created the first Chemiegramm, and in 1963, the word was protected by copyright. Without ever using a camera, Cordier produces photographs just by designing the photosensitive papers and influencing the process of the photochemical reaction during the time of developing and fixing. Cordier locates the Chemigramm between the genres, between photography, painting, ceramics, and gravure. The term "Chemigramm" describes both the technical process and the picture as well. The principle of randomness, which is much important in his oeuvre, enables many possibilities of design.
Cordier's works are featured in numerous international private and public collections. Over the years, his chemigrams have been exhibited at renowned institutions, including the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Musée d'Art Moderne in Brussels, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Notable acquisitions of his works have been made by the Centre Georges Pompidou in 2008 and the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2010.