La tour d’ivoire - The ivory tower by Gilbert Garcin
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Gelatin silver print
Signed and editioned, with printer's stamp, in ink, au verso
Artist Ref #211
Printed September 2011
Edition of 12 (#8/12)
Gilbert Garcin (b. 1929) is a French photographer who began making photographs in his 60s. He became a professional photographer at age 65, upon retirement from his lamp-making business in Marseilles. His first exhibition took place in 1998.
Working in black and white, and with a gentle humour, Garcin’s likeness appears in most of his photographs, posing as an "Everyman" in surreal settings. For his work that meditates on relationships, he photographed his late wife, Monique.
Garcin’s work comments on the human condition; existential concerns such as love, death, life, loneliness, and self-image. His photography recalls the Theatre of the Absurd, recognizable in the works of Eugène Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, and others.
The photographs shown here are typical of Garcin’s unusual practice. Working at home in a small bedroom that he converted into a studio, Gilbert takes self-portraits in a variety of poses. Once prints have been made, he carefully cuts out the figures and places them into dioramas constructed from simple materials. Garcin then lights and adjusts the scene before using his 35mm camera to capture a straightforward photograph of the final composition.
Gilbert Garcin: Life is a theatre (PDF) - L'oeil de la photographie, February 2018