Since 1976, the duo Pierre and Gilles develops a unique work between painting and photography. The photograph Pierre was born in 1950 in La Roche-sur-Yon and the painter Gilles in 1953 in Le Havre. Their meeting produced a precise and original mode of operation.
First of all, Pierre and Gilles place their models in sophisticated decorations, made in the workshop. Once the photo is taken and printed, a long painting process begins, resulting in a unique painting, the frame of which was designed by the artists. Represented by the Templon Gallery since 2012, they have been exhibited all over the world.
Pierre and Gilles ...
Pierre and Gilles is the nickname of two ofvisual artists French founded by Pierre Commoy, photographer and the painter Gilles Blanchard. Their photos show their loved ones, anonymously or famous, in a sophisticated environment that was built in the life-size workshop. As soon as the photo is drawn on canvas, a neat painting begins. These creators have created a unique iconography that explores the border between art and popular culture.
Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard both grow up in wealthy families which impose codes of conduct that they will quickly overcome in adolescence. They dive into Korean, Chinese, Hollywood cinema and all the pictures from featured magazines in rich colors. After studying art in Le Havre for Gilles and a photo school for Pierre, they settled respectively in Paris in the early 1970s.
Pierre took pictures for several magazines, Gilles painted and made collages. They met at a party in 1976 and began a romantic and professional life strongly influenced by pop art. The year 1978 is a turning point in their artistic collaboration: Bollywood and its countless colors is a shock. They manage to develop a dreamlike and whimsical style, inspired by that of the American photographer James Bidgood.
Pierre and Gilles: the pictures
Famous artists and "people" have been photographed by Pierre & Gilles such as Étienne Daho (albums La Notte, la Notte and Reserection), Marilyn manson, Lio, Amanda Lear, Pascale Borel and Valérie Lemercier, Sylvie Vartan, Cheb Khaled, Catherine Deneuve, Serge Gainsbourg, Natacha Régnier, François Pinault, Christian Boltanski, Arielle Dombasle, Laetitia Casta, Dita von Teese, Alain Chamfort, Armande Altaï, Siouxsie Sioux, Marc Almond (Enchanted album, 45 tours A lover spurned, The desperate hours and Waifs and strays), Jean Paul Gaultier, Nina Hagen, Madonna, Jérémie Renier, Sheila, Mireille Mathieu, Bettina, Régine, Kylie Minogue, Stromae, or even the album Héros de Shy'm…
They also produced photos and album covers for pop / rock groups such as Deee-Lite, Erasure (1989: cover, interior photo and booklet of the album Wild! and cover of the drama!), Indochine, Mikado, Les Calamités, for The Adventures of Ghosthorse & Stillborn by CocoRosie or Les Douleurs de l'Ennui by the French group Opera Multi Steel…
Pierre and Gilles: the works ...
Pierre and Gilles are known for their photographs retouched taken together since their meeting. They claim to be craftsmen. These works deal with subjects of pop culture, gay culture, but also pornography or religion, their most important subjects, and at the same time defend themselves against blasphemy: “We have a preference for the mystic. It is difficult for us to create a separation between art and religion. "
Their works are often described by the press as romantic: “the shisha smoker”, one of the best known, is a typical example.
Pierre and Gilles define their work as follows: “We like to idealize, but we also talk about death, the mystery and the strangeness of life. There is as much sweetness as violence in our photos… ”
Pierre and Gilles claim to be inspired by many mythologies: modern mythology with, for example, the image of a cowboy, Christian mythology with the image of Adam or Saint Sebastian, Hindu mythology with the image of Krishna and in particular the classics of ancient mythology with images of Narcissus or Achilles.
These inspirations come from different sources: history lessons and catechism lessons in childhood, then films (for Pierre) and visits to museums (for Gilles): ”We were fascinated by mythologies, gods and demigods . These stories put us […] in a world full of dreams, atrocities and miracles, in which the divine is in harmony with history. "
The exhibitions of Pierre and Gilles
- Paradis et Garçons de Paris, Texbraun gallery, Paris, 1983
- Castaways and Mourners, Samia Saouma gallery, Paris, 1986
- Pierre and Gilles, Rencontres d'Arles, 1994
- First retrospective, European House of Photography, Paris, 1996
- Douce Violence, Jérôme de Noirmont gallery, Paris, 2000
- Tear off my heart, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, 2001
- Beautiful Dragon, Asian-themed retrospective, Seoul Museum of Art, 2004
- Le Grand Amour, Jérôme de Noirmont gallery, Paris, France, 2004
- Retrospective, inauguration of the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, 2005
- A Perfect World, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, 2007
- Double je, Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2007- Retrospective, Manège, Moscow, 2007
- Wonderful Town, Jérôme de Noirmont gallery, Paris, 2010
- Hero, Daniel Templon Gallery, Paris, 2014
- Clair-obscur, Musée d'Ixelles, Brussels, 2017, curator Sophie Duplaix
- Clair-Obscur, MuMa museum of modern art André Malraux, Le Havre, 2017
- Le Temps imaginaire, Galerie Templon, Paris, January 2018
- Le Génie du Christianisme, Couvent des Minimes, Perpignan, June 2018. An exhibition organized by the International Festival of Art Book and Film, curator Numa Hambursin
- Age of Classics! Antiquity in pop culture, Saint-Raymond Museum, Toulouse Antiques Museum, Toulouse, spring-summer
- -Pierre et Gilles, Looking at the Pictorial World Seemingly Old and Voluptuous, K Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, December
- 2018- May 2019 - Pierre et Gilles, La Fabrique des Idoles, Cité de la Musique, Philharmonie de Paris, November 2019 - February 2020
Pierre and Gilles publications
- The Imaginary Odyssey, Pierre and Gilles, Contrejour, 1988
- Dan Cameron and Bernard Macardé, Pierre et Gilles, the complete work 1976-1996, Benedikt Taschen, Cologne, 1996
- Catherine Francblin, Pierre et Gilles, Douce Violence, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, 1998
- Dan Cameron, Pierre and Gilles, Merrell Publishers, London, 2000
- Jérôme Sans, Pierre et Gilles - Rip out my heart, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, 2001
- Pierre et Gilles - Beautiful Dragon, texts by Bernard Marcadé and Parang Park, interview with Jérôme Sans, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, 2004
- Pierre et Gilles - Beautiful Dragon, Texts by Bernard Marcadé and Venka Purushothaman, preface by Kwok Kian Chow, Singapore
- Art Museum, Singapore, 2004
- Jean-Jacques Aillagon and Frédéric Blanc, Frédéric, Pierre and Gilles - Le Grand Amour, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, 2004 Album, ed. Jérôme de Noirmont gallery, 2004
- Sailors & Sea, ed. Taschen, 2005
- Pierre et Gilles - Retrospective, exhibition catalog, MOCA Shanghai, 2005
- Thomas Doustaly and Paquita Paquin, Pierre & Gilles: Autobiography in photobooths, Bàzàr Edition, March 2012, 448 p.
- Chloé Devis, Behind the lens of Pierre et Gilles: Photos and comments, Éditions Hoebeke, April 2013, 155 p.
- Heroes, catalog of the Pierre et Gilles exhibition at Galerie Daniel Templon, interview with Catherine Grenier, 2013 6
- Eric Troncy, Pierre et Gilles, Editions Flammarion, October 2016 7
- Sophie Duplaix and Michel Poivert, Marc Donnadieu, Pierre and Gilles, Clair Obscur, February 13, 20178
- Le temps imaginaire, exhibition catalog, Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris, 2018, 80 p. =
- Le Génie du Christianisme, exhibition catalog, International Festival of Art Book and Film, Perpignan, 36 pages
- Pierre et Gilles, La Fabrique des Idoles, exhibition catalog, Editions Xavier Baral, 2019, 353 pages
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