Gilles Berquet (born 1956) is a French photographer whose works are influenced by surrealists Clovis Trouille and Georges Bataille, and also by photographer Pierre Molinier. The fetishistic nature of Berquet’s photographs also makes them similar to the sado-erotic constructures of Hans Bellmer.
On Molinier’s Influence
Gilles Berquet lives and works in Clamart. Although, he studied painting at the School of Fine Arts in Montpellier and Aix en Provence, after graduation, he began photographing. The same turn from one medium to another happened in Molinier’s career. The artist started photographing in his sixties. In the interview for the Secret magazine, Berquet says that Molinier inspired him to become a photographer.
ame au coin / ame in the corner
ame en malle / ame in a chest
dana & mirka – aigle noir / black eagle
helene de dos / from the back
histoire de loeil
le malle / chest
le festin nu / feast nude
legs in fishnet
le lait / milk
Lucile part en fume / Lucile in fume
luh en chienne / luh as bitch
Between Pop Art and Abstractionism
During his studies, Berquet worked in the abstract genre with an erotic incline. He was also fascinated by the conjunction of art and everyday life in pop art paintings. Being attracted to bondage illustrators (e. g. John Willie) as well, Berquet tried to produce BDSM-paintings, but, according to his words, he was frustrated by the imaginary nature of what came out. Willingness to work with a more realistic medium led him to photography.
Greeks as Unmeant Fetishists
Berquet doesn’t consider this shift between two forms of art as problematic. He finds photography a better tool to express his ideas and uses painting to make preparatory drawings. There are several examples on his site. Interestingly, Berquet’s chosen photography, among other reasons, because of its’ similarity to sculpture. The artist says that ancient goddesses with missing heads or arms are perfect models for a fetishist. Berquet’s photographs of the female torso or a woman with tied arms weirdly pay homage to Venus of Milo or Nike of Samothrace.
The Purpose of Art
Berquet shares with Molinier his simple but effective definition of the purpose of art, which is to stimulate the creator. Both photographers would never do something that didn’t correspond with their sexuality. “I am not afraid to say that my images reflect my own sexuality, that they address what interests and arouses me. I became aware of this when I did a series of images of women giving golden showers for a book called P. It wasn’t enough for me simply to show the model pissing; eventually, I wanted to put myself in the frame because golden showers weren’t just a fantasy for me: they were part of my sexuality. I wanted to show a woman pissing in my mouth because that activity is part of my life; it’s something I enjoy. During this time, I was working for a gallery with a large gay clientele, and they asked me if I wasn’t going to do photos of men giving golden showers. I thought about it, but finally said no, I couldn’t do it, it wasn’t me. <…> My work is not about making a catalogue of all the possible perversions. I just want to show those which please and implicate me personally (Secret Magazine, issue 14).”
Katie & god
la mouche / fly
mirka muscle ouvert
Fetishism and Feminism
Speaking of how women treat his photos, Berquet makes a nice remark on his approach to the body and photograph. He says that female beauty is first and foremost in his work, so the image above all is beautiful, not fetishistic. This view allows Berquet to have admirers of his art among women. ” <…> Women seem to understand that even if I represent them in scabrous or indecent positions – one could say pornographic – I am in fact paying them homage. Whether I show a woman tied up or pissing, or whatever, the image itself is always beautiful, not degrading or humiliating. Women recognize this right away. And my models are never «submissives» or «slaves». I think this is clear, even when they’re portrayed in ‘compromising’ positions.” (Secret Magazine)
valentine devant la meje / valentine in front of the meje
all images are taken from gillesberquet.com
Sources: Wikipedia.org, lamauvaisereputation.free.fr, Marti Hohmann. Interview with Gilles Berquet. The Secret Magazine, issue 14.
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