Josh Gosfield has assembled the definitive archive devoted to the 1960s French pop star Gigi Gaston. Gigi’s music and the spectacle of her tragic life riveted the public through the 60s and 70s. The exhibition documents her life and loves with archival photographs, posters, record covers, magazine and newspaper articles, a music video shot by Jean Luc Godard, documentary footage, and assorted ephemera. We see her Gypsy family’s escape from Bulgaria, her affair with her stepbrother, her first guitar, her rise up (and fall down) the charts, the car crashes, funerals, love triangles and the murder trial. All this played out in a garish media spotlight before the insatiable eyes of her public.
As Norman Mailer wrote, in a 1974 Esquire story:
“Could this Black Flower with a voice like Piaf have guessed that when she bloomed into a teenage singing idol for post-war European youth, and later became the Continental fashion icon and sexy French pin-up girl on the bedroom walls of the hippest kids, that the future would strangle her dreams of normalcy, like the protagonists in one her romantically fatalistic songs? No, of course not. Because the characters of Greek tragedies are always the last to know their fates.”
We see Gaston’s first 45, Je Suis Ici (Où es-tu?), which sold two million copies in 1961 and changed everything. We see her third single, L’Etranger, which stirred Françoise Hardy to exclaim, “The more I heard it the more upset I became. I actually thought about quitting the business. But in the end I could not let her show me up.” We see Gigi on the covers of 60s periodicals Tutta Musica, Flamme, Strip, Pop Weekly, New Musical Express, Jour de France, Photoplay, Fabulous, and more. Gaston was the poster girl for Gitane. Her marriage to Italian film star Giorgio Fortuna was on the cover of Paris Match. When that marriage descended into infidelity and murder, the trial was a worldwide sensation.
The exhibition will feature over 50 oversized prints -- limited edition archival digital prints featuring Gigi. The largest prints are approximately 40 x 60”. Accompanying the exhibition is a magazine compilation of Gigi graphics, in an edition limited to 125 signed copies.
In fact Gigi Gaston did not exist. Her persona and all her documents are the fictional creation of Josh Gosfield working with the aid of actors, stylists, make up artists, and Photoshop. This exhibition can leave you wondering if Madonna exists. How do you know?
Josh Gosfield is painter, photographer, illustrator and videographer who has exhibited and been published widely. He resides in New York City.
Gigi Gaston, The Black Flower will be on view October 22nd through November 25th, 2009. Steven Kasher Gallery is located at 521 W. 23rd St., New York, NY 10011. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 to 6pm. For more info or press requests please contact Kat Jones at 212 966 3978 or firstname.lastname@example.org.