Work; Freedom Through the Lens

By Erlend Philip Heffermehl

In the early 1800’s, Joseph Nicephore Niepce captured what is now known as the first successful photograph ever taken. The photograph depicts the view from a window at Niépce’s estate in Burgundy, France. Little did he know that this would change the world forever.

Before the time of photography, the only way the artist could generate an image was through the use of good old paint and canvas, or another form of background material to lay the paint on. When painting, the artist can alternate the motive as they choose. If they were drawing an imagery of a landscape or a person’s portrait they could insert and remove details as they pleased. Then, the art of photography was invented and later commercialized. Suddenly you had an instant capture of the moment available for you. This would be an image that was completely true and did not lie in any way what so ever. These days, photographs can be retouched through image-editing programs such as Photoshop and GIMP, but before the computer age, things were without doubt different. As the art of photography was evolving through out the years and better equipment became available, the photographers were suddenly able to use more of their creativity when capturing their shots.

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(Pierre et Gilles together with Ida Immendorff)

One artistic duo that has definitely mastered the art of creative photography are the French artists’ Pierre et Gilles. By using creativity to promote freedom feelings, or an ode to tolerance and freedom, which is how they like to describe it, they are truly innovating the art which is photography.


(Michael Jackson by Pierre et Gilles)

Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard have baffled the art community for years with their breathtaking work. They have been saluted for their artistic talent within the art community, as well as outside since 1976. Their work has been recognized by numerous museum exhibitions, including a retrospective at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris in 1996, New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York in 2000, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art in 2005 and Jeu de Paume in Paris in 2007. In 2017, their retrospective Clair-Obscur, at the Brussels Musée d’Ixelles then MuMa in Le Havre, met with spectacular public and critical success.


(The Strip by Pierre et Gilles)

 If you’re lucky enough to be in or around the Paris area between now and March 10th, you will be granted the opportunity to see their work live at Galerie Templon for their new show Le temps imaginaire. All of us at .Cent Magazine are dying to go, and can highly recommend a visit if you get the chance.


The exhibition is constructed as a journey through the artists’ universe, a highly complex world as underlined by the recent retrospective in Brussels and Le Havre. The Pierre et Gilles’ world is enchanting but haunted by recent events. It plays with a certain French spirit, where diversity and openness to others as well as the notion of resistance take on a new dimension, paradoxically both weighty and carefree. Visitors are greeted by a “Sentinel” who reminds them of the operation of the same name (the current deployment of soldiers in France to protect against terrorism).

Pierre et Gilles’ work pays close attention to all the world’s many manifestations and speaks of difference. “In Pierre et Gilles’ world, nothing is unambiguous. There is no one truth, but limitless possible truths,” says Sophie Duplaix, chief curator of the Centre Pompidou who considers the artists as the “enlightened guardians of universal values that neither ethical considerations nor political discriminations can hamper.”

You can find the link to the exhibition here.

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