For their first exhibition at Galerie Daniel Templon, duo Pierre et Gilles are unveiling a series of previously unseen works on the theme of the hero.
The exhibition features a gallery of portraits, from heroic figures of antique mythology such as Achilles and Prometheus to superheroes of popular culture and fiction. We also encounter a number of contemporary heroes, such as a young rebel from the Arab Spring and a happy couple, sporting the artists’ features, celebrating a same-sex marriage.
These hand-painted photographs, unique pieces of art, offer a wholly original reworking of the portrait tradition. Blending the humorous with the solemn, street culture with art history, Pierre et Gilles’ works explore the mysteries of representation and the ambiguity of the hero myth, contributing their own probing psychological insights.
Internationally renowned artists Pierre et Gilles have been producing works together since 1976, creating a world where painting and photography meet. Their art is peopled by their friends and family, anonymous and famous (including Zahia Dehar, Arielle Dombasle, Isabelle Huppert and Marc Jacobs), who appear in sophisticated life-size sets the artists build in their studio. Following in the footsteps of Georges Meliès, they give each work its own special character, using tricks and accessories as well as a complex play of lighting and composition. Working from this initial stage, they meticulously apply paint to the photograph once printed on canvas, whose original frame is designed as an extension of the work. Dubbed imagénieurs (imagineers) by art critic Eric Troncy, these accomplished image creators have built up an extraordinary contemporary iconography that sets out to remodel the landscape of our imaginations.
Pierre et Gilles’ work has been the focus of numerous major exhibitions, including a retrospective at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in 1996, New York’s New Museum in 2000, Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai in 2005 and the Jeu de Paume in Paris in 2007. They have also taken part in a great many collective shows; the most recent include Masculin/Masculin at Paris’ Musée d’Orsay and Les Aventures de la vérité at the Fondation Maeght in St Paul de Vence in 2013. After working with Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont for 16 years, they joined Galerie Templon in 2013.
A catalogue will be published to accompany the Héros exhibition. It will be available at the gallery and in bookshops.
Coinciding with the exhibition, Le Mobilier National will be presenting a new work by Pierre et Gilles inspired by Marie-Antoinette’s furniture and starring Zahia Dehar.