Gilbert Garcin’s photography explores a dreamlike world. It is inhabited by a tall Frenchman in an overcoat who has been christened Mister G and is an everyman reflective of all humanity and of our common tendency to think of ourselves as always in the foreground, despite all evidence to the contrary. Garcin photographs himself as Mister G, identifies poses he likes and places the resulting cutouts in small handmade sets that are as simple as they are ingenious, weaving wry existential spells of cardboard and string, sand and sticks, and light and shadow. When asked which comes to him first, the “moral” or the visual “story” of his images, Garcin’s response is as enigmatic and simple as his works themselves: “It doesn’t happen that way: the image and the idea for an experiment come to me spontaneously, as I’m observing the world around me.”
Born in 1929 on the French Riviera in La Ciotat, Garcin studied economics and founded his own lighting manufacturing company in Marseille. After his retirement, he took up photography and won a small prize in 1994 to attend a workshop led by Pascal Dolémieux at the Rencontres d’Arles photographic festival. This opportunity introduced him to photomontage and a number of other techniques that have been hugely influential on him. His work has been widely published and exhibited and is held in the collections of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris), Titze Collection (Vienna), Veendam Arthotheque (Netherlands), and Fond National pour l’Art Contemporain (France) among others.