Pierre et Gilles - Photographs Evening Sale New York Wednesday, April 1, 2015 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris

  • Catalogue Essay

    Each work by French duo Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard is a multi-tiered collaboration in which both artists painstakingly build the set, design the décor and style the subject before Commoy photographs and Blanchard paints over the final print. Lastly, both artists work on the hand-painted design of the frame, enhancing the impact of the image. Their style stands at the axis of subculture gay pornography, disco-era flamboyance and the saccharine sweetness of 80s pop culture kitsch, ultimately mixing high and low with sarcasm and intoxicating beauty. The subjects in their photographs are often modeled after religious icons, mythological creatures and cultural archetypes, further exaggerating the inescapable drama of their works. However, in addition to the visually arresting tableaus and the often-titillating subjects, the artists’ works are strongly imbued with relevant social connotations.

    In Les amoureux, the artists depict a loving gay couple amidst a romantic, leafy setting. The foliage framing the image and the print creates a scene of natural immediacy, as if stumbling into the couple by accident during an outdoors stroll. In doing so, the artists understate the staging of the photograph, aligning it with the honesty of candid snapshots. As such, the artists seem to hint that the couple’s love is not artificial, but a natural occurrence. Moreover, each man appears to be modeled after a quintessential type of French masculinity: one is a sailor, the other an artist. In joining the two prototypes, Pierre and Gilles do not subvert notions of French masculinity as much as enhance them. Manhood, in their world, is not defined in relation to women but by the freedom to love. Similarly, the work is not homoerotic since it does not intend to insinuate affection but rather proudly proclaim the simple wish to openly love. Taken in 1998, the image predates the legalization of gay marriage in France by fifteen years, and continues to echo support for equal rights and universal love.


Les amoureaux/ Johan et Léo

Unique hand-painted chromogenic print, in the artists' frame.
39 3/8 x 31 in. (100 x 78.7 cm)
Signed, titled, dated in ink, printed title and date on a gallery label, all on the reverse of the frame.

$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $50,000

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs

Shlomi Rabi
Head of Sale, New York

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+1 212 940 1245

Photographs Evening Sale

New York 1 April 2015 6pm