Brass mirror plated with nickel, reflection

Diameter 20 cm

Collection Centre Pompidou, Paris

The work Engram is a reflection on the origins of the photographic image, and pays homage to Nicéphore Niépce, author of the first known photograph in the history of images. The piece is presented as a "magic mirror", a complex object of Asian origin whose tradition dates back more than 2,000 years. At first glance, it appears to be a simple mirror, but when illuminated by a light source, it reflects a slightly ghostly image. A pattern or message engraved inside the mirror, invisible to the naked eye, is revealed by the light. This very specific magic mirror was produced in Japan in collaboration with the last craftsman to master the secrets of its manufacture. This enigmatic object refers to the first photographs, made possible by the discoveries of Nicéphore Niépce and Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre. History, however, has essentially retained the name of Daguerre as the inventot of the daguerreotype, forgetting Niépce' s contribution. The reflection of this magic mirror, instead of an image displays the words "Forget me not" in a handwriting that mimics Niépce's. A way of recalling the role he played in the history of photography and, more broadly, of evoking photography's role in the construction of memory.