Pierre Molinier’s photographs are the epitome of hedonism. Depicting surreal scenarios involving transvestism, sex, and fetishism.
With an obsession with legs, Molinier’s models are often corseted and stockinged, displaying themselves for the camera, in an intensely dreamlike world.
André Bréton was an early supporter of his work, cementing his place under the umbrella of surrealism, and organizing his first ever exhibition L’Étoile Scelllée in 1956.
The Richard Saltoun Gallery has collated over fifty photographs, drawings, and video for this exhibition, which spans many years of his career. Photomontage features quite prominently in this exhibition, giving extra spiderlike legs to his models, many of whom also appear as if wrapped up in silk, or cocooned. Many self-portraits also feature, exposing his attitude to self-fulfillment that he suggested as a primary concern when creating his work.
Those depicted in his photographs are often displayed in full glamour regalia, with blurred edges creating an effervescent glow around the bodies. The models often are looking slightly off-camera, perhaps at Molinier himself, who used to perform onanistic acts whilst opening the shutter.
Highly dolled-up, these models appear vampiric, which adds a sinister air to the already unorthodox photographs. Experimentation was a key factor in how these works were created, not only in the way in which the models posed and interacted, but also in the way in which the negatives were modified before printing.
This exhibition contains all of what is great in surrealism; namely hedonism, experimentation, and a steadfast refusal to conform to the ideals of others.
111 Great Titchfield Street
20th August – 2nd October