Pierre et Gilles: Factory of Idols At The Philharmonie de Paris

Pierre et Gilles Factory of Idols

Designed as a musical and visual installation, and curated by Milan Garcin, this exposition at Paris’ Musee de la Musique explores the universe of Pierre & Gilles through an assembly of more than a hundred of their photo-paintings of celebrities and icons, complete with a an online playlist, a host of objects and video documents.

Pierre et Gilles Factory of Idols

Les deux marins - self-portrait, 1993 © Pierre et Gilles
Les deux marins – self-portrait, 1993 © Pierre et Gilles

Designed in close collaboration with Pierre & Gilles, the exhibition explores their relationship to music and its codes and symbols. The accompanying playlist of 131 tracks composed by the artists echoes each painting, like a giant jukebox, as visitors discover never-before-released documents and installations of souvenirs and other relics from their illusionists’ studio, offering new insight into their factory of idols.

Photo-painting duo Pierre & Gilles
Photo-painting duo Pierre & Gilles

Since 1976, the duo Pierre & Gilles have developed their singular work, a hybrid form between painting and photography. Pierre, the photographer, was born in 1950 in Roche-sur-Yon and Gilles, the painter, in 1953 in Le Havre.

Photo-painting duo Pierre & Gilles
La Madone au cœur blessé, Lio, 1991

From their meeting emerged a precise and original method: they first have their models (strangers, friends or celebrities) pose for them in sophisticated sets they create in their studio. Once the photograph has been shot and printed, the long task of painting begins, one of the key principles being that each piece is a one-off creation, complete with a frame designed by the artists. They have been represented by Galerie Templon since 2012, and their work has been shown around the world. Presenting 110 works and two new installations created by the artists, this milestone event at Philharmonie de Paris is their first monographic exhibition on the theme of music.

Here’s a sneak peek at several of the photo-paintings from the exhibit:

Factory of Idols Madonna
Legend (Madonna), 1995
Jeanne la rebelle (Juliette Armanet), 2019
Fujiyama Mon Amour (Sylvie Vartan), 2017
Pierre et Gilles Hidden Madonna
The Hidden Madonna, (Farida Khelfa), 2018
Le Papillon noir pierre et gilles
Le Papillon noir (Polly Fey), 1995
factory of idols runner of the woods
The Runner of the woods (Pierre Lapointe), 2019
pierre et gilles
La madone aux fleurs (Clara Luciani), 2019
Le Chevalier du Crépuscule (2013)
Le Chevalier du Crépuscule (2013)
pierre et gilles factory of idols
For Ever (Paul Stromae), 2014
Marilyn Manson and Dita von Teese
Le Grand Amour (Marilyn Manson and Dita von Teese)
factory of idols flowers and tears
Flowers and Tears (Lolly Wish), 2016
Amanda Lear, 1979 by pierre and gilles
Amanda Lear, 1979
Ophélie (Isabelle Huppert), 2012
michael jackson factory of idols
Hommage to Michael Jackson, 2017
Extase (Arielle Dombasle), 2002
Nina Hagen, Nina Hagen
Sainte Mary MacKillop
Sainte Mary MacKillop (Kylie Minogue), 1995
kylie minogue
Comme un garçon, (Sylvie Vartan), 1996
A Full Heart (Korean actor /singer Choi Seung Hyun), 2016
jean paul gaultier pierre et gilles
De la rue aux étoiles (Jean Paul Gaultier), 2014

The accompanying hardcover book/catalogue (shown below) can be purchased here:

pierre et gilles book

The exposition:

Three separate spaces represent the exhibition’s three main themes: partying, mythology, and dreams & nightmares.

An Interview with Pierre et Gilles about the exhibit:

Pierre et Gilles, Factory of Idols exhibition
From November 20, 2019 to February 23, 2020
Musée de la musique – Cité de la musique

all images and information, courtesy of Pierre et Gilles Official Facebook PageCNN, Philharmonie de Paris, and Paris Info