French photographers/painters that make very heavily retouched photographs depicting pop- and movie stars as well as friends and catholic saints.
Pierre was born at La Roche sur Yon in France. At the age of thirteen he was singing at the casino in Luchon. He studied in Geneva and did his military service in Provins. In 1973 he arrived in Paris where he did his first photographic work for music and fashion magazines.
Gilles, who was born at Le Havre in France, was one of nine siblings. At the age of fifteen he entered the Academy of Art there and graduated with distinction. In 1973 he moved to Paris, where he did collages and paintings as well as illustrations for magazines and advertisements.
They met in 1976 at at a party held by Japanese/French designer Kenzo, and since 1976 they collaborate in making art. Famous and not so famous actors and actresses, musicians, and porn stars have all posed for Pierre & Gilles. The list reads like a who's who list of mainstream and alternative culture: Tilda Swinton, Jeff Stryker, Boy George, Nina Hagen, Cathérine Deneuve, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and Jean Paul Gaultier to name just a few. Their works have appeared in and on the covers of Actuel, Samourai, Gay Pied, Marie Claire, Playboy, as well as on numerous album covers for artists such as Marc Almond, Sandii, Lio and Etienne Daho.
Their images are, or possibly make numerous references to, kitsch and as such celebrate kitsch as one major part of gay sensibility, or gay aesthetics. Pierre & Gilles work is most decidedly queer it celebrates an outside position often held by gay men and uses it to subvert both pop culture and religion. These images are full of references to high and low culture, to contemporary pop as well as to renaissance paintings, and as such they transcend both, becoming post-modern icons.
Taschen Verlag has published an almost complete catalogue d'oeuvre; "Pierre et Gilles" 1993 by Benedict Taschen , Cologne Germany ISBN 3-8228-9377-3.