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Making of „9/11“ (by Tom Kaminski, 2001), 2013 © Jojakim Cortis & Adrian Sonderegger
Making of „Tian’anmen“ (by Stuart Franklin, 1989), 2013 © Jojakim Cortis & Adrian Sonderegger
Making of „Death of a Loyalist Militiaman, Córdoba front, Spain, early September 1936” (by Robert Capa, 1936), 2016 © Jojakim Cortis & Adrian Sonderegger
Making of „AS11-40-5878“ (by Edwin Aldrin, 1969), 2014 © Jojakim Cortis & Adrian Sonderegger



Coinciding with the World Press Photo Exhibition 2018, WestLicht presents a selection of works by Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger. For their series Icons the German-Swiss artist duo has since 2013 reconstructed iconic pictures from photo history as three-dimensional dioramas in the studio. They subsequently photograph the models and the pictures emerging from that process seem to be the spitting image of the originals.

The illusion is spoiled however by showing the studio setting and traces of the work process within the frame. Scenes deeply ingrained in our collective memory – like the burning Twin Towers, Robert Capa’s falling militiaman in the Spanish Civil War, or Stuart Franklin’s “tank man” on Tian’anmen square, awarded in the 1990 World Press Photo contest – now rise from a clutter of stands, soft boxes, stanley knives and the remnants of model kits.

is at once a tribute to the history of photography, a witty appropriation of its figureheads and – by staging both motif and the surrounding studio – an exploration of how the medium works. In a time when people wave about with so-called alternative facts on too many occasions, the pictures by Cortis & Sonderegger incite reflection on the fragile truth of photography, the relation between authenticity and construction and the importance of context and point of view.