February 14 - May 26, 2002
KunstHausWien Vienna (catalogue)

exhibition release

The exhibition Arrache mon Cœur will bring together 75 works, almost all work of Pierre et Gilles of the past three years, and will celebrate twenty-five years of an indissoluble artistic collaboration.

Constantly redefining the limits of photography like no artist has done before, Pierre et Gilles are following the same working process for twenty-five years. Pierre et Gilles start by designing the work they have imagined together.  Then they wholly conceive the theatrical settings; they also work on the lighting, select and often do the costumes, makeup and hairstyles themselves. Gilles then works on the single print with successive layers of paint and glaze.  Finally they create a specific frame, an integral element of the work, which in fact they consider as an extension of the imaginary world in the work they have created.  In this quest for absolute perfection, it is important to emphasize that Pierre et Gilles use no digital techniques.

Like the work which gives the exhibition its title, Take my Heart – a young man literally ripping the heart out of his beloved, the recent works by Pierre et Gilles plunge us into an atmosphere of gloom.  Eros and Thanatos, sex and death – essential elements in the work of Pierre et Gilles – infuse Arrache mon cœur like never before. Pierre et Gilles also evoke bad boys and dark, desperate themes, previously touched.  Even in "lighter" works, beauty is seen as a wound, an impossible redemption, and the atmosphere is violent and phantasmagorical.

For the first time since 1990, Pierre et Gilles will return to the Gods and Goddesses series, expanding Les Mythologies with figures, gods and heroes of ancient Rome.  Of an astounding plastic beauty, these works are among the strongest and most beautiful creations of Pierre et Gilles. The artists also touch on the theme of childhood.  This is no happy, innocent childhood; Pierre et Gilles remind us it can also be a dark, tormented time.  More bitter-sweet than their previous works, the images shown in Arrache mon cœur stamp themselves lastingly in the viewer´s memory.

Pierre et Gilles will return to some of their favourite subjects: self-portraits, Asia, new religious scenes, and some portraits of their famous friends will complete the exhibition in settings which are always astonishing…