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Pierre Et Gilles (Artist/Photographers) & Francblin, Catherine (Contributor). PIERRE ET GILLES: DOUCE VIOLENCE ("PIERRE ET GILLES: SWEET VIOLENCE") . Paris, France: Galeire Jerome De Noirmont, 1998. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 104 pages. Fine.

Exhibition catalog. One of the single most beautiful books ever published by Pierre et Gilles. Limited Edition of 3000 copies. The first and only edition. The book is now rare. A brilliant production by Pierre et Gilles and Phillippe Berthe: Regular-sized volume format. Pictorial hard boards with titles on the cover and spine, as issued. Photographs by Pierre et Gilles. Essay, "The Double Life of Pierre et Gilles", by Catherine Francblin. Printed on thick coated stock paper in Paris, France to the very highest standards. Without DJ, as issued. Published on the occasion of the landmark exhibition held at the Galerie Jerome De Noirmont Paris from December 4, 1998 through January 30, 1999. Presents some of the finest and most representative images by the one-of-a-kind couple whose work is now internationally well-known. Most of the photographs appear in book form for the very first time. The subjects, whether they are stars of film, music, and fashion, muscular as well as angelic-looking men, and simply friends of the photographers are all idealized amid complex fantasy sets and under layers of makeup, in photographs that have been heavily retouched to achieve the deliberate flatness of religious icons. These are heartfelt images of beautiful people, produced as a sincere homage to the beauty of the human face and body. Pierre et Gilles' insight is quite simple: All human beauties are iconic divinities. In order to bring out what we admire and revere about them, they must be rendered as icons, the artistic style historically reserved for saints and other religious figures and provocatively appropriated by Pierre et Gilles for contemporary (and largely secular) subjects, including highly erotic ones. The portrait of Claudia Schiffer ("Venus"), dressed in a pristine-white gown, tears flowing down her eyes, shows just how beautiful the supermodel truly is, a typical example of the photographers' unique style, which they found as early as the late 1970's and have honed to perfection since then. Pierre et Gilles have been around for a long time, but their work will probably always remain something of an acquired taste. It is fascinating precisely because it tests the boundaries of "good taste" and of several important genres: Media-culture iconography, religious portraiture, the male nude, and even landscape photography. As many of their images suggest, violence, particularly the more emotional, "heartbreaking" one, is a theme that runs throughout their work. The hurt that comes from the pain of forbidden love or a lover's infidelity, rejection, and outright abandonment goes deeper than the one inflicted by physical harm. Once again, this goes back to a central theme of religious iconography, where the suffering is visible yet transcendently beautiful. The collection begins with a recent photograph of the couple, taken by Paul Steinitz, and ends with vintage photographs. A "must-have" title for Pierre et Gilles completists. This copy is very boldly and beautifully signed in gold marker on the page opposite their portrait by Pierre et Gilles. They added a heart symbol with an arrow piercing through it and three stars. This is an Import title, sold out shortly after publication, and is now highly collectible. This is the only copy we have ever found, is available online, and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. A rare signed copy thus. 60 color plates. Two of the most influential and important contemporary artist/photographers. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER PIERRE ET GILLES TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 2912303044. $500.00

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