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I went to see the Pierre et Gilles retrospective pre-deciding that at most, it would be an amusing experience of some kitschy photographs.
Yes, I was amused but also enchanted, impressed, and disturbed, by the special and strange universe they have created. Pierre & Gilles met in 1976 and have been lovers and collaborators ever since then. They have invented their own world of photographic images that include themes of religion, war, peace, love, male sexual eroticism, sainthood, and others. The work is purposely artificial to create a look of fantasy and the unreal.
The well-curated exhibit was large but not overwhelming and each room was painted a specific perfectly matched color to the mood of the photos. I especially liked the series of self-portraits on the second floor, making themselves into James Bond spies, presidents & Generals, cavemen, astronauts, and bride & groom.
The boys used many celebrities including Catherine Deneuve looking like a fairy tale princess, Nina Hagen in black patent cat suit in bondage, Madonna in Chinese costume, and my favorite, Kylie Minogue as a nun with black stockings and garters riding a white carousel horse.
The ornate and beautifu frames add another dimension to the work and I found my self spending as much time looking at them as the photos. A frame with a border of small happy face buttons in day-glo put a happy face on moi.
The male nudes are a large part of the exhibit and some explore the clichés of gay male porno, exaggerating the size of many of the body parts.
One overall theme you can see in all the photos is a child-like and playful spirit that comes through all of them. Even the photo of a naked Palestinian boy and Israeli boy kissing under a palm tree has a naïve innocence and belief that love could conquer all.
Pierre et Gilles- Double je 1976-2007
Jeu du Paume
1 place de la Concorde
Open 12pm to 7pm daily, Tue till 9pm, Sat and Sun 10am to 7pm, Closed Mon.
Admission 6 Euros
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour
includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com