Unusual View of Unknown Subjects, 2013

This series is a body of work based on press photographs that have been collected in various newspaper archives in the United States. All images that are published in the press are regularly gathered in these archives where they are marked, numbered and indexed by date or key words. The prints are full of peripheral elements that explain their existence and legitimacy.

From amongst all these marks, I have focused on the indications showing how the image was to be cropped for publication. These “stigmata” are proof of the use of the image and of its transformation. They take the shape of visual (sometimes textual) dialogues between the protagonists who have handled it. Parallel stories in themselves, these annotations are also indications of „that-which-has-been“, a notion that is so fundamental in the history of the photographic medium. These permanent tattoos on the surface of the print clearly show the arbitrary and reductive politics of the image at work in press offices: the determination to stick to the event, to the subject, and to preserve the reader from any “useless” elements. I use these marks as the foundation for my experiments by cutting out what the newspaper published, completely removing the image that was seen by the public.

Through this process, I try to define the notion of what is beyond the field of vision and to question the idea of photography as depicting something special or spectacular. The print, with its center amputed, becomes a frame, an object emptied of the core through which the viewer engaged with the image. This heavily-mutilated object nevertheless seems to live by itself and cannot be ignored. Displayed, dismembered, it indicates the blind spot of a story which has already been told and forgotten. Exhibited but not unveiled, the photograph only shows the scars on its skin. Turned inside out, the image becomes the echo of a tumult that is now obscure, the incomplete words of an incomprehensible sentence. –Simon Rimaz

Simon Rimaz was born in 1987, and is living and working in Lausanne, Switzerland.


Is there any such thing as a “dead” image and, if so, what would the “corpse” look like? Simple, absurd questions like these have led me to engage in a physical, anatomical relationship with photographic material. Through the appropriation of archive photographs and with minimal intervention on my part, I attempt to underline this idea of a photographic “body” and to explore the relationship between an image and its paper format. The prism through which I perceive the medium leads me to consider a photograph as an object that is complete in itself rather than as a window depicting the world. A print therefore becomes a new sort of sensitive surface that is able to fix what is happening around it and, as a result, to testify to a wide range of political or social phenomena, but also the use to which it is subject. This physical and formal approach enables me to became an observer of public forms, questioning our visual language and our relationship with images. I am a viewer before being a creator.“

Simon Rimaz‘ series will be part of the upcoming show at exp12 / exposure 12 Gallery in Berlin:

ARCHIVE. The photographic body

Opening: September 13, 2014, 7 pm
Exhibition: 14.09 – 12.10.2014

„This exhibition shows the works of three artists which are contributing to the reflexion and research on the notion of photopraphic archive.
Their issue is more specifically related to the question of the „body“ of archive photography, of its physical and sensitive reality.“

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Related websites:
Aaluägä – Young Swiss Books

All images © Simon Rimaz
(except for the flyer, © exp12)

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