Le funambule, 2002
Exhibition from october 15th to november 21st 2009
Gilbert Garcin is a tyro who this year will be celebrating his eightieth birthday and fifteen years of a dazzling career. We are happy to share this pleasure with his public and his many fans by putting on a retrospective and publishing a handsome volume from his favourite publisher, Filigranes.
It may seem absurd, or even out of place, to speak of Monsieur Garcin as a tyro, but don’t worry, he won’t mind – quite the contrary. He usually responds with a quiet chuckle and the falsely modest delight of the highly respected star that he now is. In order to shed a little light on his success, I shall briefly recall how it all started.
First of all, it was in May 1998 that, like thousands of others since, I found myself standing and staring at the artful yet very simple arrangements of Gilbert Garcin. I owed this discovery to that great talent scout Rui Prata, director of the Encontros da Imagem in Braga, who gave Garcin his first exhibition at the festival. The spell was even more powerful when I met Gilbert and his delightful wave Monique, what with their surprising youthfulness, his deadpan humour, a subtle mix of Marseille and London, and unfailing simplicity combined with real false modesty. Yes, I found Mister G. (I use this sobriquet in reference to his peers, Messrs Tati and Hitchcock) just as fascinating as his photographs: this lanky, charismatic gent held his handsome oval head straight above his mack and explained that, quite simply, he had decided he wanted a new life and had to that end attended the photomontage courses in Arles three years earlier. After that, he had come up with this character got up a bit like Tati, whose hat he borrowed for his first pictures. This persona, an ambiguous embodiment of his own self, like a narcissistic projection or ideal – because always willing — model, was set to become the falsely “slapstick” actor in scenes of his own devising.