pierre and gilles


Pierre et Gilles, Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard, are French artists and romantic partners. They produce highly stylized photographs, building their own sets and costumes as well as retouching the photographs. Their work often features images from popular culture, gay culture including pornography (especially James Bidgood), and religion.

Pierre Commoy, the photographer, was born in 1950 in La Roche-sur-Yon. Gilles Blanchard, the painter, was born in 1953 in Le Havre. In the early 1970s, Blanchard took a degree at the École des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre, while Commoy studied photography in Geneva.
In 1974, Blanchard moved to Paris to paint and make illustrations for magazines and advertisements. Commoy started working as a photographer for the magazines Rock & Folk, Dépèche Mode and Interview.
In autumn 1976, Commoy and Blanchard met at the inauguration of a Kenzo boutique in Paris, and started living together in an apartment in Rue des Blancs-Manteaux that they also use as a studio. Next year they started working together; Blanchard would do the painting and Commoy took the photos. Their public breakthrough came with their images for the magazine Façade, with portraits of Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop.
In 1979 they moved to the Bastille quarter, made their first works for Thierry Mugler, designed record sleeves for artist friends, and shot fashion ads and portraits for magazines. They also made their first trip to India, a country which has inspired much of their work.
In 1983 Pierre et Gilles had their first personal show at Galerie Texbraun in Paris.
In 1984 they worked extensivlely for musical artists like Mikado (for whom they directed their first video), Sandii, Etienne Daho, Sheila and Krootchey.
In 1987 they again travelled to India, and started working on religious and mythological themes.
In 1989 they became friends with Marc Almond, with whom they would work with for many years.
In 1993 Pierre et Gilles were awarded the Grand Prix de Photographie by the City of Paris; and produced art work for Absolut Vodka.
Their first retrospective exhibition was in 1996, at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.