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Serge Gainsbourg Exhibition in Paris

6 May 2016

Discover the Passionate Life of France’s Most Revolutionary Artist via Iconic Photographs

If you were born between 1950 and 1990, you’ve probably heard of Serge Gainsbourg. You may have mumbled his beautiful French songs and been amazed by his inner talent for provocative behaviour (he once burnt a 500 Francs note on live TV and created controversy with a new version of La Marseillaise). If you haven’t heard of him, it’s time to make amends. Serge is one of France’s most iconic singers, songwriters, composers and musicians; and someone everyone loves to hate. He’s dated many beautiful women, and brought a revolutionary feel to a conservative, pre-May 68 French culture. He was called “L’homme à la tête de chou”, “the man with a cabbage head” because of his huge ears and what he describes himself as an “ungrateful face”, and was undoubtedly the incarnation of the ultimate troubled French poet.

This spring, Galerie de L’instant is hosting an outstanding exhibition showing photographs of Gainsbourg during diverse moments of his life. The venue has previously welcomed the biggest names in photography and art (think Bruce Weber, Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe) and always wanted to present celebrities in a more intimate way than what the audience tends to see of them. On the wooden floor of this small, square room, framed pictures that appear to be waiting to get hung are setting a subtle, organised mess that add to the vintage, intimate feel of the venue. Until 31st May, this 3rd arrondissement gallery offers the chance to admire these shots and aims to enhance Gainsbourg’s secretive personality…

Sometimes with Jane Birkin, his partner for 12 years and mother of his daughter Charlotte, sometimes with other beauties, sometimes on his own…these black and white pictures of the artist unveil celebrity events and simple moments of his daily life. You’ll feel touched by his tired gaze when he faces the camera sat in his living-room, moved by his tender kiss on Jane’s cheek and amused by the multiple shots taken during parties. More than an exhibition, Serge Gainsbourg stands as a fascinating journey into the artist’s life. Tony Frank, the man behind the camera, is known to have photographed rock stars and iconic characters such as Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and Madonna – also in monochrome pictures and with an exclusive look at their lives.

The writer of Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus, an ode to his passionate romance with Brigitte Bardot, will be honoured in his favourite city, Paris, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his death. An homage with a common thread between the photographs: the beauty and purity of the mind of a man who thought himself so ugly all his life. Expect a moment of pure poesy and take the opportunity to travel back to France in the mid-60s and early 70s, when provocation and bohemianism were a way of life…


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