Pierre et Gilles are French romantic and artistic partners that have been working together for close to 40 years. That alone is a reason to admire and love them. But there is more. Much more.
They create some of the most gorgeous, whimsical and provocative art in existence. The always slightly surreal and dreamlike mixture of photography and painting featuring famous and anonymous people is instantly recognizable and distinct.
The work is deeply rooted in popular culture and fuses themes of erotica, religion, sexuality, theatre and myth. Each portrait they create is infused with colour, wit and is a great reflection of the subject’s personality.
The creative process is precise and meticulously rehearsed: together the duo draft a project – first as a drawing, and then as an actual mise en scène where the use of a myriad of objects and accessories brought from their travels results in a rich theatrical spectacle, highlighted by their use of dramatic stage and lighting effects. Pierre and Gilles create their stunning costumes themselves, and they choose the make-up and hairstyle with the help of experts. Once the set is ready, Pierre photographs it and Gilles retouches the unique print with layers of paint.
At first glance, their photos have an almost kitsch, pseudo religious look to them, but once you dig deeper under the saccharine exterior, it becomes apparent that there is an enormous amount of “edge” and humour in everything they do.
The very first two professional portraits they ever did were of Andy Warhol and Iggy Pop for the very cool French magazine called Facade. That’s pretty much all you need to know. Since then, they have also worked with an absolutely amazing array of artists including, Marc Almond, Nina Hagen, Jean Paul Gaultier, Boy George and many more.
It’s difficult to even express how much of an influence their work has had on me and on Some Product as a creative entity. Having loved their work for so long, I think it’s safe to say that their approach and constant re-invention of popular culture is very much part of the ethos of what we try to do on a daily basis.