Gilles de Beauchêne
Gilles de Beauchêne
Is Photography the art of composition? Provided that the meaning of composition is a creation – as the musical composition is the art of creating sound architectures – Gilles de Beauchêne personal work that he leads in parallel to his career as an advertising photographer can be held to be the essence of photography itself!
Gilles invents a space and populates it with materials or plants which he shapes and assembles like a craftsman. Like a demiurge, in his darkroom, he tells a story, exalts all the powers of imagination and offers a show. He does not look, he creates an image. His pictures look at us and in some of his portraits one can admire how the gaze of the models stare at us and envelop us.
His world is a stage, a laboratory of metamorphoses and hybridizations. It is a world of its own with its machinery, its scenery, and its troops rising to take control of models (hairdressers, makeup artists, stylists…). Each shot is a palimpsest work of masterly superimposed images.
Hence a beautiful and strong sense of theatricality, a scrupulous care taken to assemble as much as to show, in staging as well as in suggesting. The final image, a narrative fresco, is the result of an assemblage, like a big puzzle whose drawing is a little baroque. Details and decorative elements – here a banknote of Manchuria, there a branch of a Thai cherry blossom, an insect, a child’s toy or a pearl – contribute to the beauty and the balance of the whole.
Gilles’ universe is steeped in fantastic realism while creating a magical circus atmosphere. Be it a seahorse rider, male individuals exhibited under glass as trophies like in the museum of natural history and attacked by praying mantises, polar bears killed by the Amazons from the cold lands or heroes of the Soviet Union in tears, we are right in the heart of the dream world, of the paranormal and of parallel universes although close so close to the “real” life!
Here is sealed a new alliance between painting, sculpture, comics, choreography, scenography, decorative arts… Through a certain kind of a visual vertigo which remains always under control and through subtle political or existential messages, the artist makes us see and listen to the song of the world and to the human history of our time.