"I don't photograph; I take. I take what I find striking…what attracts me in people is the stories they have inside them, the inextricable complexity they somehow manage to cope with in order to exist. What holds my attention is the moment when singularity becomes universal. Pain, seduction, the ravages of time, life problems, looming death."
— François-Marie Banier
Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs by François-Marie Banier.
Banier, a prolific photographer, is also a well-known playwright and novelist whose published works include Le Passé Composé (1971) and Balthazar, Fils de Famille (1985). Along with other unflinching chroniclers of modern life such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lisette Model, and Diane Arbus, since the 1970s Banier has captured the world's social, literary, theatrical, fashion, and political scenes, from Vladimir Horowitz and Samuel Beckett to Silvana Mangano, Yves St. Laurent, and Johnny Depp. This heady mix is leavened by the tough, penetrating, and highly empathic portraits he takes of anonymous yet unforgettable street people, whose faces, bodies, stances, and expressions bear witness to the inexorable march of time and fate.
Banier also combines his various activities in single works, writing and painting on the surface of large-format black and white photographs. Taking photographs and writing are, for him, interdependent practices; his photographs invoke stories, which he then spontaneously writes. Rendering images as diaries or poems is perhaps a way of prolonging and intensifying the all-too-brief moment of the photograph itself. Thus Banier narrativizes the famous and the unknown with his writer's insight and artist's eye, in moments where the mask is dropped and the real self revealed.
François-Marie Banier was born in Paris in 1947. His first exhibition was at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (1991) and he has since exhibited his work internationally including the Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo (2000), La Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, Paris (2003), Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany (2005), and Villa Medici, Rome (2005). He lives and works in Paris.