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Hervé Guibert: How could it be otherwise?

November 4 – December 10, 2017

Curated by Dr. Dan Berger and John Neff


Hervé Guibert described photography as “also an act of love.” In Ghost Image, a collection of his writings on photography, the artist imagines a dialogue: 

The majority of your stories ooze homosexuality.

How could it be otherwise? It’s not that I want to hide it, or that I want to boast about it arrogantly. But it’s the least I can do to be sincere. How can you speak of photography without speaking of desire? If I mask my desire, if I deprive it of its gender, if I leave it vague, as others have done more or less cleverly, I would feel as if I were weakening my stories, or writing carelessly. It’s not even a matter of courage, (I’m not a militant) it has to do with the truth of writing. I don’t know how to say it more simply. The image is the essence of desire and if you desexualize the image, you reduce it to theory.

Guibert’s photographs, like his writings, are auto-fictions: documents of his daily life, but also self-consciously “artistic” inventions. The images – variously mundane, mysterious, and sentimental – refer to classical painting while maintaining a documentary focus.

In Hervé Guibert: How could it be otherwise?, Iceberg Projects will present a selection of Guibert’s photographs from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. The artist’s film La Pudeur ou L'Impudeur (Modesty or Immodesty), featuring newly translated transcription by Christine Pichini, will screen continuously in the gallery. Readings from Guibert’s texts, as well as other performances, will take place during the exhibition’s opening and throughout the run of the show.  

Hervé Guibert (1955–1991) was a writer, photographer, screenwriter and filmmaker who lived and worked in Paris. In 1988, having been diagnosed with AIDS, Guibert publicly revealed his status and recorded his struggles with the disease in, among other works, the best-selling book To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life and the film for French television La Pudeur ou L'Impudeur (Modesty or Immodesty). These and other works by Guibert received extensive media attention when they appeared, influencing public opinion about AIDS in France. Guibert died in 1991, just two weeks before his 36th birthday.

Nathanaël is the author of more than a score of books written in English or in French, including The Middle Notebookes (2015), Feder: a scenario (2016), and N'existe (2017). Her translations include The Mausoleum of Lovers by Hervé Guibert, as well as works by Catherine Mavrikakis, Édouard Glissant and Danielle Collobert.

Iceberg Projects thanks Callicoon Fine Arts, BQHL and Christine Pichini for helping make the show possible.


Reading by Nathanaël, Saturday, November 4th, 2017

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