LOEWE Conversation #8
The life and legacy of Hervé Guibert
For our latest ‘LOEWE Conversation’ we welcome Agathe Gaillard, Kiddy Smile and Christine Guibert to discuss the French artist Hervé Guibert, who is the subject of the LOEWE FOUNDATION’s 9th annual exhibition at Madrid’s international photography festival PHotoESPAÑA.
Hervé Guibert is a writer and photographer from Paris, who orientated himself inside the city’s intellectual circles during the 1980s and dedicated himself to capturing his immediate surroundings. His black & white pictures of his contemporaries, portraits of family members and intimate vignettes of his home are composed in such a meticulous and intimate way that they read like visual journal entries. In his final years, he devoted his writing and photography to his personal experience of AIDs, before he lost his battle with the illness in 1991 at the age of 36.
The panel of Agathe Gaillard (French gallerist who exhibited Guibert’s work), Kiddy Smile (Parisian DJ, Producer and LGBT icon) and Christine Guibert (his wife – and rights holder to his estate) will examine the ephemeral life, photographic oeuvre and enduring legacy of this enigmatic artist.
Former teacher Christine Guibert first met Hervé Guibert in 1976 with her partner Thierry Journo, who was the Director of an Institute for deaf people and later became the artist’s lover. They struck up a strong and enduring friendship, lasting throughout Guibert’s battle with AIDs and until his untimely death in 1991. Before Guibert died and with the spectre of his diagnosis hanging over him, he insisted that Christine and him married so she could become the “ayant droit” custodian of his estate and the royalties would go to her and her children, who she later had with Journo. Since 1991, Christine Guibert has fulfilled this role, helping to curate exhibitions, protecting his image and ultimately securing his legacy as one of France’s most enigmatic artists.
Agatha Gaillard is a French gallerist who opened Galerie Agathe Gaillard in 1975, France’s first gallery entirely dedicated to photography. Since then, Gaillard has devoted her life and career to promoting photography as an art form and supporting the photographers she exhibited in her gallery space. In the ensuing decades, she has held over 250 exhibitions, consulted for major festivals, private collections and museums, and helped to raise the profile of mythical photographers including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ralph Gibson, Hervé Guibert and many others. In 2015, Gaillard declared to the Le Parisien newspaper, “I have succeeded in having photography recognized as an art in its own right […] My role was obvious: take the photos once made and pass them on to the public. It has fascinated me all my life.”
Kiddy Smile is a French DJ, producer and artist. Raised in a housing project in Rambouillet (Yvelines) to the southwest of Paris, his creative path moved through dancing and fashion styling before finding his way into music. His influences crystallised inside the voguing scene and he became the figurehead of Paris’ underground ballroom scene through the events he used to run. These parties opened the doors to the world of luxury fashion, initiated by the creative director of Balmain Olivier Rousteing’s request for him to develop the brand’s sound identity, and later with collaborations for Alexander Wang, Balenciaga, Lancôme, Versace and ASOS. In 2016, he released his first music tracks on the Defected label and in August 2018 dropped his first album One Trick Pony. Kiddy Smile recently appeared in Gaspard Noé’s latest film Climax.