By Dave Crossley
Pierre et Gilles, Bettina Rheims, Noelle Hoeppe, Robert Mapplethorpe, Rosella Bellusci, Jorge Damonte, Bruce Weber. Galerie Texbraun. 12 rue Mazarine.
One can just imagine Calvin Klein looking at some of the pictures by Robert Mapplethorpe. Bruce Weber, and Noelle Hoeppe with his heart in his throat, his joy overflowing, his dreams seeming true, his life infused with hope and longing. These smooth pretenders, both behind and in front of the camera, seem to be from other worlds, where life has been reduced to extravagant posturing in crisp clean light, or to a kind of permanent dim, smoky hallucination, everything diffuse and hard to see. The ennui in both worlds is obviously overwhelming and the characters seem crazy, witless, and lost.
Bruce Weber is a star in the fashion world at the moment. His pictures of people redesigned after novels by Scott Fitzgerald are published everywhere. Much of what he does seems to relate to sports and the outdoors, as if all the men and women were Olympians. Indeed, one of his biggest recent projects was his transformation of many of the real 1984 Olympians into glamorous heroes and heroines from another time, with slicked back hair and great hats.
Noelle Hoeppe makes pictures composed almost entirely ol middle tones, with lost women groping their way through the smoke. They're beautiful in a way that seems not quite right for fashion photography, and, like Weber's, the scenes are always from an earlier time. It s a little unclear what she's trying to sell with these pictures that appear to have been made shortly after the party had been going on for a little too long.
Then there's, ah, Pierre et Gilles. Zany, I suppose that's the right word. Their weird, heavily retouched color pictures of smooth soft people are being widely published in Europe. These guys have no shame at all. No gimmick is too tacky, no color combination too gauche. There's lots of skin in their pictures, but almost none of it looks quite real. The work has tight connections to beach movies, television, and comics. Your sense of humor has to be of a certain curious caliber to want more of this, but there you are. I collected their postcards.