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Artist portraits by RANCINAN

28. October 2020 - 29. August 2021 Curator: Caroline Gaudriault

It was when he first saw the works of Giotto that Dante’s interest was piqued by the artist – he wanted to see his spirit, his trembling hand, his glory… Concept and implementation would not be enough without being transferred to posterity. It is not an artist’s duty to be humble, why would it? They are engaged without compromise. The responsibility of their work is immense. They have consciously taken up their tools like a weapon to become a vigilant witness of their time. Not all is art, contrary to a certain very modern idea, but all art is politics.

It has an important role to play in History.

The artist is an illusionist. It is enough for them to name something and it comes to life: the word precedes the thing. It is enough for them to create an artistic representation of a vision to make history. And freeze it. They can stop time. Their power surpasses them, just like their works which do not belong to them anymore.

They are players with reality. Franko B’s real blood or McCarthy’s ketchup substitute, realism of war painting by Yan Pei Ming or an idea of a painted scene created from ashes by Zhang Huan. They assist in the execution of the truth. The veracity of used means matters little, it is enough if they justify their version of reality and their representations, now deadly, of society.

They are an illusionist who does not disappear behind their work. They are a part of it because they are its idea. Their portrait becomes a symbol. A man disappears behind a posture. They are framed and revealed, like their works, they become a representation. By reaching the status of an icon, they give life to Dante’s musings and enter History.

Caroline Gaudriault


Gérard Rancinan is an internationally recognised contemporary French artist and photographer. His photographic work features in the great contemporary art collections and is displayed in the most prestigious museums worldwide. An attentive witness to his time and his contemporaries, Rancinan observes the world, reflects on it and engages in an uncompromising critique of the moods of the “Modern”. Through a photograph, in a protean style that links content and form, Rancinan seeks to express the quandaries of a society in its deviations and contradictions. “Free-thinker” is certainly the only title to which he lays claim and to which he devotes his life and work. He has earned his reputation as a result of the relevance of his approach but also due to the monumental dimensions of his photographic works. Rancinan has been named an Officier des Arts et des Lettres and, among other distinctions, has received with six World Press awards.