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Spiral Galaxy MGC 4565

A work made of gelatin silver print.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.




Sarah Charlesworth
American, 1947–2013

About this artwork

Spiral Galaxy MGC 4565 is part of In-Photography, a series that Sarah Charlesworth created in response to the critic Susan Sontag’s influential book On Photography (1977). Sontag, in the artist’s estimation, wrote from a standpoint outside photography, without engaging the material as well as the representational histories encoded in photographic technologies. Here Charlesworth appropriated a photograph from a scientific magazine and tore it into pieces to emphasize the scale and substance of her source image. She then photographed the collage greatly enlarged, as if to suggest its own dispersal into outer space. Using torn fragments, Charlesworth literalized the big bang theory, while at the same time thoroughly confusing a conventional sense of scale: the “original” image is rendered enormous, while what it portrays remains infinitely smaller than its cosmic subject.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Sarah Charlesworth


Spiral Galaxy MGC 4565


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1981


Gelatin silver print


1 of 3


119.5 × 165.5 cm (47 1/16 × 65 3/16 in.)

Credit Line

Photography Associates Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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