Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Von Gloeden, ca 1900 (private collection)

"Teach me to kiss the Dorian flute,
The Dorian pipe to blow;
I with my own breath would salute
Great Pan before I go;
And may the genius of the place
Adopt me in the shepherd race!"

So, perched on Monte Venere,
I prayed a little goat-skin boy
To leave his herd and sit by me,
And teach me all the shepherd's joy.
"What is your name?" to him I said:
"Orfèo," blithe reply he made. 

I took the flute, I took the pipe;
No reed would to my breath respond,
He laughed to see me blow, and wipe
My lips, the pretty vagabond;
Still nature's child, though notes I snatch,
Was victor in that singing match.

But I was paid when, as behooved,
I threw into his shaggy lap
The gifts by ancient time approved,
My London scarf and Naples cap;
And, as of old, the happy boy
Leaped high, and clapped his hands for joy".

George Edward Woodberry

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Youth, beauty, flowers and love.

Von Gloeden, Young man with a crown of flowers (ca. 1900)

"Dear Pancrazio,

Thank you so much for your letter and for the news from Taormina. I feel so sad, so sorry about the raids of fascist police. How did they dare ? You told me they destroyed so many photographic plates... No print will ever be possible from them... Fascists are killing dreams, desires, imagination and just humanity...

Is there still a space for imagination, for longing, for desire ? Are we still allowed to dream about beauty and youth ? Is it still possible to dream about a photograph ? It is still possible to have a private, an intimate space where one could love who he/she wants?

Dear Pancrazio, the photographs of von Gloeden are an horizon, a landscape, an eldorado, a paradise... Looking at them made me happy... I know I cannot go beyond the photograph, I cannot go through the photographic print: the cute lade is somewhere else, out of reach.

These photographs are so perfect, so elaborated, so relevant. The stage set up, the pose of the model, his face expression, the props, everything is so  beautiful...

What Fascist police does not understand is that such pictures are not pornography, they are just an hymn to the beauty of lads, they are a visual translation of so many Greek and Roman texts we studied in our schools, gymnasia and universities....

The model's nudity is not my main focus... I feel seduced by the whole stage set-up, by flowers and plants, by the model's face, by the curves of his body, by  the way he is standing in front of the camera...

I have a small collection of Von Goeden's photographs. Most of them are vintage prints, I have a few later prints..

I felt in love with a few of von Gloeden's boys. I talk to them when I look at their photographs, sometimes I ever write poems for them.. They make me dream, they make me happy, they answer in such a perfect way to my dreams, to my desires...

Beyond their sepia backgound, dear Pancrazio, these photographs are such an inspiration, such a world to dive in...

My dear Pancrazio, of course I felt in love with the  photograph you sent me.. Comments are useless, silence is required.

So many thanks from the depth of my heart

All the best


Von Gloeden Archive, 13 May 1935 (1935/05/13)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Une archéologie du désir / Archaeology of desire

Ce sont des objets sans âge, venus de la nuit des temps, des tréfonds de la mémoire. C'est la plus primitive des technologies, celle des métaux que l'on fait fondre, que l'on moule, avec lesquels on façonne des coffres massifs, des sarcophages intimes où va s'imprimer le souvenir d'un amant, d'un amour. 

Ce sont des objets de l'âge du plomb fondu, aux racines du coeur et de la mémoire, ce sont les reliquaires du désir qui se referment sur l'empreinte d'un amant, d'un amour, évanescente et immortelle comme une fresque de Pompéi, comme une photographie de von Gloeden...

These are ageless artefacts, inherited from the most remote past, from the very depth of memory. It is the most primitive of human technologies, melting metals, molding them, sculpting chests (or safes ?), intimate sarcophagi where the memory of a lover, the memory of love will be printed.

These are artefacts from the age of melted lead, at the roots of the heart and memory, these are reliquaries of desire one can close upon the print of a lover, of a lover, fragile and ever-lesting as a Pompei frescoe, as a von Gloeden photograph...

Ouvrir, refermer. Se souvenir, oublier. Regretter, espérer. Aimer encore, aimer toujours. Trouver les mots, écouter le silence. Les reliquaires amoureux de Gaston Marie Martin invitent à une archéologie du désir, si profond, si loin, dans la mémoire d'un autre, dans une vie antérieure.

Ouvrir les boites, déplier les diptyques ou les triptyques, c'est entrer dans l'intimité d'un coeur, c'est partager une mémoire.

Opening, closing down. Remembering, forgetting. Being sorry, hoping. Being still in love, loving forever. Finding the right words, listening to silence. The loving reliquaries of Gaston Marie Martin are an invitation towards an archaeology of desire, so deep, so far away, within the memory of someone else, in a previous life.

Opening the boxes, unfolding diptychs or triptychs, it is like entering a human heart, it is sharing a memory.

Que de rêves, que de souvenirs, que de regards, que de caresses, que de mots d'amour s'envolent lorsqu'on ouvre le coffre, le coffre de plomb qui enferme les amours d'un autre temps, d'une autre vie...

So many dreams and memories, so many gazes, caresses and loving words are flying away when I open the chest, the lead chest locking up the loves of another life, of another time...

Qui es-tu, toi que j'ai tant aimé et dont je ne sais plus le nom... ? Les fils ténus du rêve, du désir me permettent de passer de l'autre côté du miroir et de te dire, encore et toujours, des mots d'amour doux comme nos caresses, ailleurs et dans une autre vie, il y a si longtemps, avant que le métal durcisse, avant que la photographie s'estompe...

Who are you, you I loved so much and whose name I forgot... ? The so fragile threads of dream and desire allow me to to go across the mirror and to tell you, again and for ever, loving words sweet as our caresses, in another place, in another time, such a long time ago, before lead hardened, before the photograph faded away....

Gaston Marie Martin est un sculpteur et photographe français  d'une grande originalité, qui élabore, d'exposition en exposition, une archéologie du désir, un art de la mémoire.

Gaston Marie Martin is a French sculptor and photograph, a very original artist. Along his many exhibitions, he is creating something like an archaeology of desire, an art of memory.

Vous pouvez visiter son site web ici

You can visit his website here

Friday, September 9, 2011

A blossoming boy

"Dear Wilhelm,

This is the last photograph I purchased, in your villa at Taormina, and its is now within a frame, against a wall in my living room.

As always, your photographic art makes me dream, takes me so far away and so deep within myself. Everything is shown, everything is said, everything is expressed... This photograph is a visual poem about youth, about young male beauty and sensuality, about this secrete and sublime lad's love burning in the heart, in the soul of older men.

Such a photograph is a world to dream about, a love story to  imagine, a endless dialogue to start with a splendid, with a blossoming boy. Flowers of spring, flowers of youth, flowers of a blossoming boy, at the threshold of manhood.

The set-up of your photograph, the balance between what is shown, what is hidden, the grace of the pose, the enigm of the face expression, of the gaze diving deep into an unknown horizon... Everything in your photograph sings to my ears, speaks to my heart, fullfils my secrete dreams, my unsaid hopes.

I love the pose of your model, offered to your mechanical eye, at the same time hiding what he is thinking about, who he is. This photograph leaves such an open space for imagination and poetry...

I could sing forever the feelings, the thoughts, the memories, the longings this photograph, this beautiful lad inspire to me...

Only blind eyes could consider a photograph as a mere surface. For me, it has such a depth, such an horizon... Looking at this photograph, on the wall of my living room, will be for me a way to travel far far away, to the ropes of Mount Etna, to the cliffs of Taormina... I will also travel through time, until classical Antiquity, to Athens, to Alexandria, or to Taorminium...

In the crazy time, the crazy society I am living in, I don't know if it still allowed to fall in love with a model on a photograph, with a photograph... I could embrace just a shade, just a ghost, a photograph is nothing but a paper with a printing of light and shade. This blossoming boy I will never meet, never caress, he is far away, he is absent. At the same time, he is so present, I can touch and reach his essence, his eternal beauty, his youth blossoming for ever...

I will tell him loving words everyday and I know that he will listen to them and understand them, within the frame....

I love him so much and I am so happy we actually met, thanks to one of your photographs, my dear Wilhelm...

Yours, as always


Von Gloeden Archive, Letter from Philip to Wilhelm von Gloeden, 23 June 1906 (Call number 1906/23/06/12)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Machines à rêves / Dream Machines

Boîtes à secrets photographiques de Gaston-Marie Martin (créations uniques)

Issu d'une famille d'artistes, Gaston-Marie Martin baigne dans le flot incessant des échanges et des révélations... Porté par cet héritage, il surgit sur la scène contemporaine en bousculant médiums et frontières.

Stupeur devant ces objets : boîtes, reliquaires, instruments de mémoire, fossiles jaillissants d'un imaginaire qui mêle histoire de la peinture, épopée de la photographie.

Célébration d'une fête secrète peuplée de corps masculinsEnchâssés au coeur d'un exceptionnel corpus de boîtes toutes plus précieuses et inattendues, les garçons de G.M. Martin nous étreignent par leur présence fascinante. 

Faune Barberini, lutteurs de Canova, icônes des photographes taorminiens, l'artiste revisite, restitue, réinvente. Les boîtes à secrets photographiques de G.M. Martin  posent de manière personnelle la question du nu dans le champ artistique : statut, support, symbolisme.

En savoir plus: ici 

Boxes with secrete photographs by Gaston-Marie Martin (hand-made and unique objects)

Born in a family of artists, Gaston-Marie Martin grew up among a endless flow of creativity and revelations... With such an heritage, he appears on the contemporary art scene and subverts media conventions as well as borders.

These objects are a source of fascination for the viewer: boxes, reliquaire, memory tools, fossils born from an imagination mixing together the history of painting and the epics of photography.

Here is celebrated a secrete ceremony haunted by male bodies. Hidden within an unbelievable collection of boxes, precious as well as unexpected, G.M. Martin's boys move us through their fascinating presence.

Barberini Faun, Canova's wrestlers, icons of photographers from Taormina... The artist revisits classical references, he recreates, he reinvents. These boxes with secrete photographs by G.M. Martin raise in a very personal way the issue of nudity in art: its status, its medium, its symbolism. 

To know more: here