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Photomontage and Représentation

Photomontage et représentation

« Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère » - Dossier thématique, Numéro 18

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Published on Wednesday, September 21, 2022


In the 1930s, photomontage was defined as a composition or montage of fully or partially cut-out photographs, which may include text, color or drawings, as can be seen in recent exhibitions. Since the first decades of the 20th century until today, photomontage has just as much examined artistic production as it has architecture, landscape, and the city. It thus serves as a rich subject in the contemporary image sphere, in terms of shedding light on the exchange between fields, and for analyzing transformations in the realm of history and representation. To this end, this current issue puts forth three lines of investigation.



The representative dimension of photography has been called into question on several occasions, particularly in the 1980s.[1] Photomontages used by avant-gardes, however, were an exception to this, as shown by Rosalind Krauss who considered them as narrative processes in tune with the history of representation.[2]

In the 1930s, photomontage was defined as a composition or montage of fully or partially cut-out photographs,[3] which may include text, color or drawings, as can be seen in recent exhibitions.[4] Since the first decades of the 20th century until today, photomontage has just as much examined artistic production as it has architecture, landscape, and the city. It thus serves as a rich subject in the contemporary image sphere, in terms of shedding light on the exchange between fields, and for analyzing transformations in the realm of history and representation.

Topic Proposals

To this end, this current issue puts forth three lines of investigation:

1. Photomontage, Between Artistic Creation and Architectural Practice

Photomontage has been situated at the intersection of two image-based practices ever since the beginning of the 20th century: “aesthetic” through editing or collage, and “real based” through photography. The possibility of converging different spatialities, scales and temporalities in a single image thus emerged, which is a process that artists and architects quickly seized upon. Berlin Dadaists like Raoul Haussmann and John Heartfield used it for social and political advocacy, while Bauhaus teacher Laszlo Moholy-Nagy applied it to art experiments. Mies van der Rohe, who knew these artists well, used photomontage more for projective or representations.[5] Other architects or groups, such as Archigram and Superstudio, drew from the photomontages of Pop’art, which were later taken up by the artist Alain Bublex. Aldo Rossi and Rem Koolhaas based their photomontages on narratives, quotes and referencing. Since the 1990s, however, fluidity between these elements has appeared due to the rise in digital editing, which has become vital in the art world and even more so among architects.

While artistic and architectural practices surrounding photomontage have been little theorized, they remain omnipresent all the same. From an interdisciplinary lens, a comparison allows us to understand how architects, from the avant-gardes to today, are inspired by or integrate artistic photomontages. What connections, dialogues, differences or even controversies can be identified? How do spatial and temporal interpretations in art and architecture unfold at different scales of photomontage and how does digital technology address the question of montage for architects and artists?

2. Photomontage and the Spatial Debate: A Tool for Ideational and Historical Representation and Dissemination

Since the end of the 19th century, photomontage has been used for spatial representation, whether it be through the insertion of a realistic model within a given context, or as a decontextualization device.[6] From then on, photomontage became an essential tool for architects, urban planners and avant-garde theorists in the conceptualization and dissemination of a new architectural language. Art and architecture publications, from books to journals, along with exhibitions around the world, reflect trends in photomontage and its development in terms of technique, content and form. Sergei Eisenstein’s film editing theory can be seen in the “phototext”, a montage of image and text used in the engaged writings of Le Corbusier and Sigfried Giedon, or the photo sequence theorized by Andreas Feininger, used by Le Corbusier or Charlotte Perriand.[7]

Considering that the notion of representation underpins the narrative force of photomontage, in this current issue we wish to understand the resulting forms of writing that emerge as well as the role of montage with regard to photography and text, particularly in the theoretical development of disciplines and the writing of history.

Expected are case studies that will be contextualized in the visual culture and theoretical references of their time.

3. Photomontage and Architectural Design

Bart Lootsma’s book, Architectural Drawings in the Age of Social Media, Italian Collage,[8] attests to the renewed interest in collage with regard to the strong potential of digital tools, graphic design and photo software (Photoshop). Paradoxically, this demonstrates the decline of hyper-realistic images[9] to the benefit of those further rooted in architectural practices and culture. In the wake of Archizoom and Superstudio, this book offers a rich overview of Italian architectural production. Their photomontages of the city of the future most importantly constitute philosophical and poetic discourses questioning the very nature of architecture, urbanism or landscape. Alluding to urban facts and memory, Aldo Rossi’s collages inspired the diversion of meaning specific to contemporary Italian collage.

This diversion of meaning characterized the landscape designer Jacques Simon’s photomontages, which reveal “a real prospective scope”. In the words of Denis Delbaere, Simon reconstructed the landscape through photography. The aim was not to depict a completed landscape design in place of architectural project, but rather an image comparison creates mental shocks, introducing a dynamic of spatial interrogation in the visible along with a reassessment of preconceptions, ultimately opening the door to landscape design work.[10]

The photographic montage thus fully participates in the thoughts of the creator, architect, landscaper or designer. This is thus a line of research to be explored, requiring a consideration for design as a discontinuous process made up of identifiable moments.[11] Since the 19th century, for example, drawing on photos and mounting images of an architectural project onto photographic backgrounds have become common architectural practices.[12]

Case studies or texts of a more theoretical nature are desired, as they allow for an examination of the interplay between spaces of representation and the architectural project, perception and narrative forms, and finally the demonstrative or even denunciatory value of the photographic image when integrated into an artistic approach.

Target Audience :

This call for papers is aimed at researchers and faculty members of art, architecture, urban planning, landscape, as well as historians focusing on art, photography, architecture and cities. It also concerns philosophers and other specialists in the humanities who work in the field of representation

How to apply

Proposals for completes articles should be sent by e-mail to the Craup’ editorial office: craup.secretariat@gmail.com

before 20 February 2023

For more information, contact Aude Clavel on 06 10 55 11 36 or by email.

The journal expects completed articles, not proposals, abstracts or any other form of presentation.

The articles must not exceed 50 000 characters, including spaces.

Languages accepted: French, English.

Articles must be accompanied by:

  • 1 biobibliographical record between 5 to 10 lines (name and first name of the author (s), professional status and / or titles, possible institutional link, research themes, latest publications, e-mail address).
  • 2 abstracts in French and English.
  • 5 key words in French and English.
  • The title of the article must also be translated into French or English depending on the language of the paper.


  • Anat Falbel,
  • Frédéric Pousin
  • Andrea Urlberger

Reviewing Committee

Rédacteur en chef

  • Frederic Pousin (depuis 2017)

Comité de rédaction

  • Céline Barrère (depuis 2022)
  • Manuel Bello Marcano (depuis 2017)
  • Franck Besançon (depuis 2017)
  • Gauthier Bolle (depuis 2017)
  • Gaia Caramellino (depuis 2021)
  • Enrico Chapel (depuis 2017)
  • Benjamin Chavardes (depuis 2017)
  • Audrey Courbebaisse (depuis 2021)
  • Maxime Decommer (depuis 2022)
  • Anat Falbel (depuis 2021)
  • Yankel Fijalkow (depuis 2017)
  • Ralph Ghoche (depuis 2021)
  • Xavier Guillot (depuis 2017)
  • Caroline Maniaque (depuis 2017)
  • Roberta Morelli (depuis 2022)
  • Juliette Pommier (depuis 2022)
  • Paola Savoldi (depuis 2021)
  • Corinne Tiry-Ono (depuis 2022)
  • Andrea Urlberger (depuis 2020)


[1] Roger Scruton, “Photography and Representation”, Critical Inquiry, The University of Chicago Press Stable, vol. 7, n° 3, Spring 1981, p. 577-603, spéc. p. 578 et 588.

[2] Cf. « Entretien avec Roger Chartier », propos recueillis par Évelyne Cohen et Pascale Goetschel, Sociétés & Représentations, Paris, Éditions de la Sorbonne, n° 40, 2015/2, p. 289-321.

[3] See César Domela-Niewenhuis, « Photomontage”, in Photomontage between the wars (1918-1939), Fundación Juan March, 2012.

[4] Cf. Allemagne/Année 1920/Nouvelle Objectivité/August Sander, catalogue, Éditions du Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2022, et le catalogue de l’exposition tenue aux Rencontres photographiques d’Arles 2021 : Emmanuelle Coccia et al., Charlotte Perriand. Comment voulons-nous vivre ? Politique du photmontage, Actes Sud, 2021.

[5] Giovanni Fanelli, « L’utilisation de la photographie dans le processus du projet architectural », dans Histoire de la photographie d’architecture, Lausanne, Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes, 2016, p. 387 (éd. originale Editori Laterza, 2009)

[6] Jean-Louis Cohen, “The misfortunes of the image: Melnikov in Paris, 1925 (On architecture and photography)”, in Beatriz Colomina (guest ed.), Architecture Reproduction. Revision 2, New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 1988, p. 102.

[7] Martino Sierli, Montage and the Metropolis. Architecture, Modernity and the Representation of Space, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2018, p. 189-192.

[8] ‎Bart Lootsma et al., Italian collage, Siracusa, LetteraVentidue Edizioni srl, 2020.

[9] Cf. Marie Madeleine Ozdoba,“Du photoréalisme au post-photographique. Les paysages imaginés du bureau Bas Smets”, in Frédéric Pousin (dir.), Photo Paysage. Débattre du Projet de paysage par la photographie, Paris, Les Productions Du Effa, 2018, p. 118-135 (english version : Birkhäuser, Bâle, 2019).

[10] Denis Delbaere, dans Frédéric Pousin (dir.), Bunuel Fabrice, Delbaere Denis, Hébert Florent, Jannière Hélène, Michel Xavier, “Saisir le paysage urbain : Du rôle des publications et figurations architecturales, des pratiques photographiques et cinématographiques (1960-1970)”, rapport de recherche finale, ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, BRAUP, 2007.

[11] Cf. Frédéric Pousin, Sonia Keravel, Marie-Hélène Loze, Les Temps du projet de paysage au prisme de la photographie, Paris, Éditions ENSAPB, 2017.

[12] Cf. Giovanni Fanelli, op. cit.



  • Monday, February 20, 2023


  • photographie, photomontage, architecture, Perriand, Le Corbusier


  • aude clavel
    courriel : craup [dot] secretariat [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Audee Clavel
    courriel : audeclavel [at] hotmail [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Photomontage and Représentation », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, https://calenda.org/1016990

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