Pierre et Gilles Retrospective at C/O Berlin

Over the last thirty years, the French artist duo Pierre et Gilles has created photographic portraits of numerous celebrities including Marc Almond, Mirelle Mathieu, Catherine Deneuve, Serge Gainsbourg, Iggy Pop, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Nina Hagen, Madonna, and Paloma Picasso. Pierre et Gilles work almost exclusively in an opulently furnished studio, where their subjects are costumed lavishly and placed before three-dimensional backgrounds. Whereas Pierre photographs the model, Gilles retouches and hand-colors the print. The reproducible portrait is rendered unique through painting, which highlights each detail with carefully selected materials and accessories.

As only venue in Germany, C/O Berlin presents the exhibition as the first of Pierre et Gilles in fifteen years. The show comprises a total of 80 unique large-format works – from their early photographs of the 1970s to the brand new pictures that were never shown in public before.

This video by Martin Grießmüller contains an exhibition walkthrough and statements by Pierre et Gilles.

The artist duo Pierre et Gilles (b. 1950 and 1953, respectively) have been living and working together since 1976. Influenced by Pop Art, Gilles first painted a photograph by Pierre in the year 1977. This form of collaboration between photography and painting became the trademark of their work, which has remained unique and has exercised a defining influence on contemporary photography.

C/O Berlin is an international forum for visual dialogues. Since its inception in 2000 in the former Royal Post Office (Postfuhramt) building, C/O Berlin has firmly established itself within the cultural landscape of Berlin. C/O Berlin was founded by photographer Stephan Erfurt, designer Marc Naroska, and architect Ingo Pott.

C/O Berlin, Press Preview, July 24, 2009.

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