Hervé Guibert (1955 - 1991)
Exposition Hervé Guibert ...of lovers, time and death à la Galerie Felix Gaudlitz, Vienne, du 3 octobre au 28 novembre.
Hervé Guibert’s incalculable photography and writing is quietly affected, but also sincere, as if stillness were the only way out, living somewhere between the ennui of daily life and restrained disobedience. A quiet revolution, buried deep in stark, luminescent images of a disaster that has already happened. Central to his œuvre is a keen awareness of lack, of castration, something gone or going; a manque-à-être, an aesthetic of disbeing that humanises, spotlighting our loathing of the Other, of things we don’t understand. His static-altering poetics occupy a quasi-judicial reality, between temporality and the stasis of trying to remember things incorrectly. A dreamlike drift. An asymptote approaching zero for infinity.
FELIX GAUDLITZ is pleased to present … of lovers, time, and death, an exhibition of 15 vintage prints by French writer and photographer Hervé Guibert (1955–1991), organized together with Attilia Fattori Franchini. A publication with contributions by Estelle Hoy, Drew Sawyer, Attilia Fattori Franchini, and the text Enquête autour d’un portrait (sur Balthus) by Hervé Guibert (1983), translated for the first time in English, will be published on the occasion of the exhibition in November. The book will be published by saxpublishers, designed by FONDAZIONE Europa and co-edited by Attilia Fattori Franchini and Felix Gaudlitz.
Hervé Guibert novelist, journalist, photographer and activist.
Pioneer of autofiction and interested in the possibilities of self-representation—literary and photographic—Hervé Guibert published more than twenty-five books before dying of AIDS in 1991 at the age of 36. His experimental prose is defined by violence and desire, lack and decay contaminated by the writing of Jean Genet and Thomas Bernhard amongst others. Guibert used photography as a tool to embrace transience, language to create fiction; fiction he performed and lived. He inaugurated the photography column in Le Monde (1977–1985), his criticism, highly influenced by Roland Barthes, is marked by fleeting, melancholic, and intimate moments. His book L’Image fantôme (Ghost Image, 1981), part memoir, part analysis of the act of taking pictures, is a collection of texts written in first person, caught in a dance of permanence and disappearance. Guibert took pictures of his friends, lovers, and family members composed in a meticulous and powerful way as if characters of a diaristic novel. Subjects such as Gina Lollobrigida, his friend and collaborator Hans-Georg Berger, or his lover Vincent are portrayed almost sacrally revealing the invisible tension between observer and observed. We are haunted by his gaze in the many self-portraits he took, through mirrors, strangely holding the camera or of his own shadow projected on a wall. He also photographed the ever varying scene of his writing desk, including his typewriter, his manuscript pages, his diary and open books, in an exploration of the possibilities of photography.
In his final years after being diagnosed with AIDS, Guibert took on an active role challenging and transforming perspectives on the disease, sexuality, and self-representation. Guibert’s most famous novel À l’ami qui ne m’a pas sauvé la vie (To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life, 1990) written in the form of diary-like entries, chronicles the last years of the life of his friend and mentor, Michel Foucault and of his own. Underlining the continuum between the processes of dying and writing, Guibert pushes the physical body and the body of writing as interconnected texts under erasure.
The exhibition has been made possible with the kind support of Christine Guibert and Françoise Morin.
 Excerpt from Estelle Hoy, Fou de Hervé, in … of lovers, time, and death, saxpublishers (Vienna, 2020).
Lien vers l'exposition : https://felixgaudlitz.com/exhibitions/herve-guibert-of-lovers-time-and-death/
De l'intime : Exposition Hervé Guibert à la Galerie Les Douches, du 24 janvier au 14 mars 2020.
Vernissage le 23 janvier, 5 Rue Legouvé, 75010 Paris, de 18h à 21H
Site de la Galerie : https://www.lesdoucheslagalerie.com/fr/expositions/presentation/93/de-l-intime
Hervé Guibert, le chat Zen et la souris
Hervé Guibert est toujours dans mes pensées. Une cohabitation plutôt silencieuse, qui s’accorde à notre désir de mélancolie, à ces jours à pas feutrés où nous jouons au chat et à la souris. Je suis la souris, il est le chat. Un chat tendance Sôseki, très sensible à la chaleur, doué d’un sens de l’observation particulièrement délicat, et de cette ritualité spatiale si utile aux nyctalopes.
Autre bien commun : la photographie, qui transforma Hervé Guibert en chroniqueur argentique grâce à Yvonne Baby (qui dirigeait le service culturel du Monde), puis en photographe avec un Rollei 35, cadeau de son père. Écrire sur la photographie lui a donné une généalogie ; il a questionné Ilse Bing et André Kertész, Duane Michals et Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Gilles Ehrmann et Édouard Boubat… Il est, temps béni, quasiment le seul à prendre possession des lieux et des livres d’images dont il rend compte avec des mots extrêmement précis, ne se laissant jamais griser par l’éventuelle notoriété de son sujet.
En mai 1980, changement de perspective, il accroche Suzanne et Louise, ses grands-tantes aux longs cheveux, sur les cimaises de la galerie Agathe Gaillard, puis Le Seul visage, à l’automne 1984, fruit d’un livre d’aventures intérieures publié par les éditions de Minuit.
Alors qu’il est un écrivain tranchant, il sera un photographe sans griffes, du moins je le perçois ainsi. Il me paraît être en retrait, à la limite de l’empreinte, lui se dit juste prudent. Pas de parade, la simplicité irrigue ses portraits, parfois animé par l’esprit du quotidien, comme s’il voulait faire apparaître, ou disparaître, le lien mystérieux qui l’attache à ses proches. Christine, Thierry, Michel, Mathieu… Chaque image témoigne de cet amour inspiré, aussi d’une certaine jeunesse, comme le souligne Agathe Gaillard : « Une jeunesse libre, intrépide, qui n’avait pas peur d’être ce qu’elle était ».
Aucune tentation narcissique, ou pas plus que ça dans ses autoportraits d’une grande sobriété. Sa beauté n’est pas un visa. Ou un embarras. Il est au-delà de la photogénie, il cherche la vie, l’ombre et la lumière l’absorbent - ou le consument. Ne pas oublier le soleil nourricier, un chat est un chat. Une chaise lui sert d’échelle, un tableau de prétexte à se faufiler dans le cadre. Çà et là, d’autres objets intimes attendent leur tour, billes, livres, tableaux.
Le noir et blanc lui va comme un gant, c’est son encrier, peut-être même son bouclier contre le mauvais sort. Il écrit. Il s’approprie la photographie. Il avance dans l’obscurité et trace sa propre légende sur pellicule.
Le sait-il ?
À une époque où régnait le scoop et où il était chic et choc d’exposer des intérieurs de réfrigérateurs, des touristes écarlates, des torses velus et des gosses affamés, Hervé Guibert a imaginé une esthétique dominée par l’inattendu.
Qu’en pense le chat ?
« Avec l’énergie dont je déborde, je n’aurais aucune difficulté à prendre une ou deux souris même en dormant, si seulement je le voulais. Jadis, on a demandé à un célèbre maître de Zen comment faire pour atteindre la Vérité. Il a répondu : « Faites comme le chat qui guette une souris ». *
*Citation extraite de Je suis un chat de Natsume Sôseki, traduit du japonais par Jean Cholley (Gallimard/Unesco, 1986).
F/Q – I laid a sheet on the floor / January 22 - February 22, 2020
Accès au site : https://www.f-q.info
On January 22, FuturDome presents a project dedicated to the next selected artists for A-I-R. Artist in residence project, supporting emerging authors with a studio and developing unpublished exhibitions in a groundfloor project room, within in via Giovanni Paisiello’s building.
Text / Context
The installation I laid a sheet on the floor is based on the novel Les Chiens by Hervé Guibert. Written in the summer of 1981 on the Elba island and published by Les Éditions de Minuit in Paris the following year, it is a text that sparked off controversial critical and personal reactions.
Long pornographic sequences contributed to define the explicit and outrageous nature of the text, thus far only published in French, German and Catalan.
An Italian translation of the text, specifically done for this installation, is printed on a white sheet in a non sequential layout: its analogic configuration refers to the different narrative layers. Les Chiens is the tale of a relationship of love and cruelty.
Photography / Pornography
As usual in the works of Guibert, Les Chiens refers to actual experiences, places and persons to produce an auto-fictive plot that bewilders and mesmerizes the reader. Due to the double nature of the author – writer and photographer –, the scenes in the novel are composed like tableaux vivants, clearly defined in colours and components. In an interview, the author admits that paintings by Francis Bacon were inspirational to him.
We were not interested in reproducing the pornographic or pornotopic nature of the text. Instead, we wanted to reconstruct through new images the crystal clear and nearly mathematic mood of the narration, developed in prolonged sentences where phantasies – bot sexual and not – unroll in an exponential intensification.
The characters meticulously described in the novel are faceless archetypes, portrayed in a series of five photographs.
The title of the installation is a quotation from the novel referring to a basic act in any design: a drawing that implies a desire. Objects play an active role in the text and are clearly characterized: besides the paraphernalia of S/M culture (pegs, whip, dildo, cockring), anonymous objects such as a mirror, a pen, a pair of scissors, a sheet, a bed, an armchair, a coin, a pair of boots, a piece of meat, are at the centre of the exchanges between the characters, who “communicate through objects placed between them”.
Be they involved in S/M practices or not, these objects are intermediaries and become fetishes, subjects of the narration and of the action that is told. The objects are present in the installation and portrayed in the accompanying book.
Senses and collaborations
Les Chiens involves the five senses: it tells about odours, noise, tactile qualities. Critics stressed that due to its erotic nature, the text would benefit from being read aloud.
The installation includes the clothes made of mohair wool worn by the acrobats in a sequence of the novel, designed by Niccolò Magrelli. Petrichor – the smell of rain on warm earth – was selected by Nicola Pozzani. In 2012 Bojan Đorđev and Stipe Kostanić produced a performance featuring the declamation of the whole novel translated into Croatian. A soundscape recorded on Elba completes the installation.
On January 22, FuturDome presents a project dedicated to the next selected artists for A-I-R. Artist in residence program, supporting emerging authors with a studio and developing unpublished exhibitions in a groundfloor project room, within in via Giovanni Paisiello’s building.
F / Q is a duo artistic project which will be creating a new inseparable unity, between a short novel by Hervé Guibert and his first symbolic transposition in the third dimension. Hervé Guibert (1955 –1991) was a French writer, journalist and a photographer. His relationship with writing was nourished by autobiographical and by autofiction drives. In 1990 Guibert reveals his HIV status in the novel A l’am qui ne m’a pas sauvé la vie (To a friend who has not saved my life) who consecrates him to the general public. He died of AIDS in 1991 after a fierce artistic work on the disease that leaves him powerless, like witness the photographs of his body and the film made with producer Pascale Breugnot, La pudeur ou l’impudeur (modesty or impudence), filmed a few weeks after its end. He is buried in Rio nell’Elba, a small town on the Island of Elba.
I laid a sheet on the floor
F/Q in collaboration with Bojan Đorđev and Stipe Kostanić, Belgrade, Niccolò Magrelli, Florence, Nicola Pozzani, London, Davide Savorani, Milan. With a lithography by Francis Bacon and an etching by William Hogarth.
F/Q is a duo artistic project, exhibiting for their first time in FuturDome, within A-I-R (Artist in Residence) program. A collaborative duo whose conceptually based installations blend literature, sculpture, performance, photography, video, and sound. They create evocative and provocative works that explore the prescient topics of belonging and exclusion. They reflect how far the model of collaborative, idea-oriented art making has come, moving from the fringe to be on par with the traditional archetype of the artist as a solitary genius. Today, as the tools for creating all different kinds of conversations are fostering more collaboration throughout contemporary life, their teamwork is represented by non-normative fields in the spheres of performative photography.
In FuturDome they build-in a system for critique as a common theme in discussions. They make visually and intellectually engagements, re-enacting the material nature of our world and how we experience it through the lens of literature and its imagery transpositions. Their research is voted to explore hidden, secret alluringly narrative performances, transporting viewers to abstract and universalized imaginative worlds of discovery.