We have all read the gloomy headlines of last year predicting the doom of the EU with stories about the economy, Greece, Brexit, the rise of populism, the refugee crisis, surprise and close call elections – I wish to share a start to the New Year with a positive report that involves art, glamour and international cooperation. One which has been going on between creative people across Europe for many years now.
My story opens with the news of the upcoming retrospective exhibition of the world famous artistic team of Pierre & Gilles at the Musée d‘Ixlles in Brussels next month. The artists‘ colorful and sophisticated version of portraiture blurs the lines between photography and painting. They infuse a touch of humanity to the fabricated beauty of celebrity and bewitch the world with their colorful superheroes pulled from mythology, the Bible and fairy tales. They purposely have choosen themes that are fueled by history, art, religion, pop culture, gay culture and film – including gay porn. Superstars that have stood before the camera of Pierre et Gilles include Marilyn Manson, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Deee-Lite, Nina Hagen, Tilda Swinton, Catherine Deneuve and Jean-Paul Gaultier to name just a few.
Pierre & Gilles are French artists and romantic partners. In their studio on the outskirts of Paris, they produce their highly stylized and unique hand-painted photographs. Together they create – building their own sets an costumes as well as retouching their photographs with acrylics. Constantly striving for perfection in their artworks from conception, creating elaborate set environments in their studio, the photography and finally adding their signature aura of light to create their contemporary masterpieces.
Glamour & Cooperation
Since 1993 they have been actively giving back to the community via a major collaboration with fashion heavyweight Thierry Mugler for the Life Ball. Pierre & Gilles have been participating in this important and continuing project, working together with founder Gary Keszler for this annual charity event in Vienna – which is the biggest and most prestigious charity event in Europe supporting people with HIV and AIDS.
The fantastic works of Pierre et Gilles have also been a source of controversy. In 2012 there was a situation in Austria. The duo created a provocative piece for an exhibition at the Leopold Museum in Vienna titled Nackte Männer. This Pierre & Gilles submission was of three French footballers in cleats and socks showing off all their goods. The three footballers selected were one of each – a black, a middle eastern and a white player representing the multi-ethnic composition of current French society. This controversial piece was also chosen as the advertizing poster for the event. While the event was titled Naked Men, some thought it was too much on so many levels and the final edit on the approved poster version sadly had the cocks & balls of the sexy sportsmen fully covered. Hopefully you were one of the lucky ones to see that original in person. If not you then head to the EU capital in February to check out the upcoming Pierre & Gilles exhibition.
16. Feb–14. May
Musée d‘Ixlles, Brussels