Peter Gorsen / Pierre Molinier, Pierre Molinier, lui-même – Essay über den surrealistischen Hermaphroditen, 1972

Cover back and front

Cover back and front

 

Surrealist painter and photographer Pierre Molinier began photographing himself in the 1950s. His self-portraits mostly show him in a stylized, almost (sex-)doll-like, female form.

Lui-même (Himself) is an early publication of Pierre Molinier’s photographic works. The construction of the book is exquisite, with great attention to detail. Austrian art historian Peter Gorsen’s essay is set in justified print immaculately centered in narrow vertical columns. The essay spreads over 8 chapters and 33 pages, followed by 36 pages of plates. The lithographic plates themselves all appear on the right-hand page, the picture titles on the left page, and the two separated by veil-like sheets of black-printed paper.

The images, shot in his studio in Bordeaux, mostly show Molinier alone, or with German sado-masochist Hanel Koeck, in various roles with custom-made costumes and props. Still lifes and portraits are mixed with collages, and range from the provocative to the openly pornographic. He certainly wasn’t afraid to run the gamut of his sexual desires and record these fantasies on film. We are shocked and fascinated simultaneously, as he presents us with these excursions into his dark and occasionally violent underworld.

The book closes with 3 pages of biography and bibliography. A silk-bound embossed book with clear plastic dust jacket in a simple white slipcase. It also includes the infamous photograph of his ‘grave’ (an installation piece created by Molinier himself) with self-penned epigraph:

Ci-gît Pierre Molinier, né le 13 avril 1900, mort vers 1950… Ce fut un homme sans moralité, il s’en fit gloire et honneur. Inutile de prier pour lui.

Here lies Pierre Molinier, born on 13 April 1900 died around 1950. He was a man without morals. He was proud of it and gloried in it. No need to pray for him.

Pierre Molinier committed suicide in 1976.

Hard cover with plastic dust jacket in slipcase

App. 27.6 x  24.4 cm

208 pages (including the black dividing pages)

 

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Slipcase back and front

Slipcase back and front