Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard, also known as Pierre et Gilles, are French artists and romantic partners. They 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, who appear in sophisticated life-size sets the artists build in their studio. They meticulously apply paint to the photographs once printed on canvas. Accomplished image creators, Pierre and Gilles have built up an extraordinary contemporary iconography on the frontier between art history and popular culture.
Pierre et Gilles have sometimes attracted controversy. For example, in 2012 there was a public outcry in Austria when their work entitled Vive la France was displayed on large street posters.
It depicts three naked French footballers with their genitals fully revealed: the first black, the second Arab/Muslim and the third white, to represent the multi-ethnic composition of modern French society. The ensuing controversy led to an act of self-censorship by the artists, who decided that the largest street posters should be changed, and instead use coloured ribbons to hide the players’ genitals. Personally i understand that this self censorship is the right thing to do when one choses to show these photographs in public places, however sex, gay subjects and male nudity are frequently present in their photographs making it difficult to avoid these photographs because these are such an integral part of their oeuvre. Are these typically 80’s /90’s photographs?….i do not think so. These are “classic” highly creative and original photographs with one signature, as if they were made by one and the same person. Pierre et Gilles is not two, but artistically one person/artist. www.ftn-books.com has a number of Pierre et Gilles publications available.