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History, Collection and Objective

Copy Art and Electronic Art

  • 1780 James Watt (GB) invents the first copy machine

  • 1938 Chester Carlson (USA) invents the electrophotographic process of dry reproduction (dry is called xerox in Greek hence the names xerocopie and Rank Xerox)


A. The 60s: birth of copy art (the pioneers)

Artists from various countries use photocopiers to create works of art by diverting the copying function of the machine.


  • Some Fluxus group artists

  • Bruno Munari (Italy)

  • 1965 (circa) Sonia L. Sheridan (USA) contributes to the design of the "color in color" system on the first color photocopier of the 3M firm and creates the first artistic works in color (self-portraits, assemblies, silk transfer, etc.) .), followed in particular by Charlotte Brown (1968)

  • As early as 1965, the first exhibitions of copy art

  • 1968 - 7 minimalist artists (Care André, Joseph Kosouth, Sol Lewitt among others) participate in "Xerox Book", a major work of copy art.


B. 70s: copy art development


The artistic creation using a photocopier grows all the more quickly as the machines spread in all the offices and sometimes at the private individuals.

At the end of the 70s it is the most practiced art (speed, low cost) after photography (use of a camera) and before cinema (use of a camera).


  • 1974 - Gil David, Gil Wolman (pocket portraits), Amal Abdenoureto

  • 1975 - Anna-bella Geiger, Margareth Maciel, Claude Torey, Pati Hill

  • 1976 - Jürgen O. Olbrich, copy-artist, participate in the creation of the world's first museum dedicated to photocopiers and copy art in Mülheim-an-der-Ruhr.

  • 1978 - MAREK (NY) publishes the first complete guide to copy art.

      - Domenico Lo Russo, Hudinilson Junior, Nicole Metayer ...

  • 1979 - Marylin Mac Cray (USA) organizes the exhibition "ELECTROWORKS" (more than 90 artists) at the International Museum of Photography in Rochester (USA)

      - Carmella Gross, Kirsten Hawthorne, Winston Smith, Marcia Wilman, Barbara Wyeth ...


C. Year 80: The Golden Age


  • 1980 - Christian Rigal, artist and theoretician of Copy Art, creates the neologisms "electrographed" and "electrographic Art", considering that the term copy art "is inadequate. Since 1980 he organizes many exhibitions and contributes through his publications to promote copy art in France and many countries (Europe, Canada, Brazil, etc.). Céjar is his pseudonym of artist.

  • 1981 - James Durand (France) creates the first research workshop on electrographic art at the University of Paris 8.

  • 1983 - The "ELECTRA" exhibition designed by Frank Popper at the Museum of Modern Art (MAM) in the city of Paris devotes a section to electrography and presents works by about twenty artists.

  • 1983 - Creation of the "media nova" association by Jean Mathiaut and Christian Rigal.

  • 1984 - Jean Mathiaut, professor at the National School of Fine Arts (ENBA) of Dijon (France), also copy artist organizes in Dijon an exhibition of important copy art.

  • 1986 - Nadine Combet organizes at the Center Pompidou a workshop run by Céjar "photocopy is not copy" which meets a considerable success.
        - Jacques Charbonneau, artist, creates an important center of copy art in Canada at Montéral.
        - The University of Castile and La Mancha (MIDE) initiates and sponsors the creation of a museum entirely dedicated to copy art in CUENCA (Spain).

               - The Biennale of Contemporary Art in Sao Paulo (Brazil) has a copy art department.

  • 1990 - International Electrographic Magazine, 100 ex. by Christian Rigal and Jean Mathiaut ed. Nova media. 1991: special issue on copy art centers around the world (USA, Brazil, Germany, England, Spain, France, Hungary, etc.)

Copy Art seen from the perspective of Jean-Claude Baudot’s Collection

06/25/2016 |  Marie Maertens


What is Copy Art?​


Copy art, which can be called Xerox art, Electrostatic art, Xerography, copy graphic art or electrophotographic art became a global phenomenon in 1960 following the invention of the first fully automated xerographic copier in 1959. Very quickly...

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