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11 August 2010

Claude Gassian, Rencontres d’Arles 2010

We know all his portraits: Patti Smith at Père-Lachaise cemetery; Prince in a desolate dressing-room; Muddy Waters in his hotel bed; Keith Richards and Mick Jagger joking in a visibly empty plane… Tricky and the Kills, far from their official image, captured in unique, offbeat moments that strip them bare and shed light. In the noisy, often over-exposed world of the music industry, Claude Gassian urgently tracks down the rare occasions when, often amid the din and bustle, the noise suddenly fades. The light grows subtler, the decor less predictable, and the star more authentic than ever, and virtually anonymous.

The photographer’s personal work is less recognisable. His images of deserted motorways, haunted by pontoons that look like weird pagan monuments. His quasi-abstract black-and-white series of electrical wires, which invents a new calligraphy. His empty architectures bathed in a fragile and very odd tranquillity. For many years now, Claude Gassian has been making the most of the lost moments on his travels, between hotels and airports, to carry out formal research that is the utter opposite of his day job—but a powerful complement. A bid to express the world in gazeless, faceless figures. To survey silent and timeless landscapes that are poles apart from his portraits of artists—or at least appear to be

Philippe Blanchet


Claude Gassian thanks Richard Schroeder.

Exhibition produced with the support of Gares & Connexions.

Prints in Paris by Central Color and Toros Lab, Paris. Framing by Circad, Paris.


Exhibition venue: Atelier de Mécanique, Parc des Ateliers, Rencontres d’Arles 2010.