Martial Cherrier is another lucky photographer to be showing at Pierre Passebon’s Galerie du Passage. ‘Lucky’ because not only does Pierre throw fun openings, but all his guests tend to arrive expecting the unexpected. And in Paris, that’s needed because the crowd is well informed and easily bored.
Other photographers that Pierre has exhibited include David Lynch, Karl Lagerfeld and Lynn Davis. It was actually because of Davis – known for her images of icebergs and for being a contemporary of Robert Mapplethorpe – that Pierre began with contemporary artists. Davis was looking for “a humane gallery” and Galerie du Passage fitted the bill.
Naturally, the atmosphere reflects Pierre who defines open-minded with regard to others as well as being generous with his knowledge. Like most Parisians in my inner-circle, I met him through Christian Louboutin in 1991. And thanks to shows organised by Pierre, I was suddenly exposed to Paris’s refined past via the benefactress Marie-Laure de Noailles, the artist Christian Bérard and furniture designers like Alexandre Noll, Jean Royère and Emilio Terry.
"The innovative-minded Pierre has a healthy horror of being nostalgic. “Staying amongst dead artists can get morbid”"
Being an expert of such characters – bathed in winning social and historical references – could have been enough. But the innovative-minded Pierre has a healthy horror of being nostalgic. “Staying amongst dead artists can get morbid,” he once told me. And so now he shows young talents like Cherrier, whose oeuvres can also be seen at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie.
When first meeting Cherrier – a former champion bodybuilder – I was reminded of The Thing from the Fantastic Four cartoon. His skin – due to horse hormones – is rock-like rugged. I aired such thoughts to Pierre who said, “Listen Madame Normale, he thinks you and I look weird.” Nothing like being put in my place by Le Passebon!
Hérédité: Photographs by Martial Cherrier runs at Galerie du Passage from February 13 to March 13.
Text by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni
Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni is a Paris-based British writer who covers fashion and lifestyle as well as being the author of Sam Spiegel – The Biography of A Hollywood Legend, Understanding Chic, an essay from the Paris Was Ours anthology, the soon-to-be released Tino Zervudachi – A Portfolio – as well as the Chanel book, for Assouline's fashion series.
Robert Beck is former New Yorker currently based in Paris. Also known as C.J. Rabbitt, he is the author and illustrator of several children's books, including The Tale of Rabbitt in Paradise, Un Lapin à Paris and the soon-to-be-published A Bunny in the Ballet.