Gérard Rancinan, talent and revolt on edge

Dernière révision le 3 février 2022 à 22:55 par la rédaction

Gérard Rancinan vu par ©Laurent Rebours

Gérard Rancinan
, was a photojournalist, and is now an artist photographer, he exhibits with his partner Caroline Gaudriault, “Journey in democracy”, a series of thirty photographs and texts at Villa Tamaris from January 29 to May 7, 2022.

After Yan Arthus-Bertrand and Claude Gassian, the Villa Tamaris, a beautiful building overlooking the harbor of Toulon, welcomes Caroline Gaudriault and Gérard Rancinan. It has been forty years since I saw Gérard Rancinan. At the time in the early 1980s, he was a rising photojournalist.

The “little Gérard” started at the age of 16 as an apprentice photographer for the daily newspaper Sud-Ouest where his father was a typographer for more than three decades. One day, luck smiled on him. American reporters ask Sud-Ouest for a photographer to cover an event about which they don’t want to say anything. No one is enthusiastic in the photo service and they sent “the little one”. This was the start of a career Gérard Rancinan was barely twenty years old, he had the opportunity to photograph the ETA militants who assassinated on December 20, 1973 Luis Carrero Blanco, statesman and admiral a relative of Franco.

“I then received a phone call from a certain Xavier Périssé who presented himself as the editor-in-chief of the brand new Sygma agency, dissident from Gamma. Gérard said yes to Xavier and it was the start of a dazzling career. Gérard Rancinan, who was sent on the “local de Pau” of the Sud-Ouest daily, photographed 5 rugby matches over the weekend. “I learned to work quickly and efficiently. But “little Gerard” was not content with his local work.

During his holidays, he went to Africa to cover the coronation of Bokassa… Soon Hubert Henrotte, then the boss of Sygma, asked him to join the staff of Sygma. He did series for large color magazines, and portraits, Fidel Castro, the Pope and many others that illustrated the greatest magazines in the world and earned him six nominations from the World Press Photo.

And from the 1980s, the artist points behind the photojournalist. Gérard Rancinan likes the staging which sometimes reveals the personality of the greats of this world better than the simple cliché. After a brief stint at Gamma, then a return to Sygma, he left Hubert Henrotte to found his own agency with Jean Guichard, GLMR for Guichard, Ledru, Melloul and Rancinan. The adventure lasted two, three years before he flew away….

In 1995, the auctioneer Pierre Cornette de Saint-Cyr remarked, “Your photos are works of art, we will try…”. “It flattered my ego but I was skeptical, but it worked.” The first sales were more than encouraging. Rancinan, who felt that the era of the “golden age of photojournalism” was in decline, then he turned, successfully, to Art. In auctions, his photographs go for 100, 200,000€. From then on everything was possible “with a lot of work” he specifies.

At the same time as he is exhibiting “Rage and Desire, the beating heart of Men” at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat, Morocco, he is installing “Journey in Democracy” at Villa Tamaris with his accomplice the writer Caroline Gaudriault. Thirty XXL format photographs, with texts by philosophers, films to the delight of Jacqueline Franjou, President of L’Oeil en Seyne and Cyril Bruneau the artistic director. This exhibition which will last “the time of the electoral campaign” the artist jokes it comes at the right time to increase the reputation of the Villa Tamaris, managed by the Provence Mediterranean Metropolis chaired by Hubert Falco, the mayor of Toulon, who does not skimp  on anything: free entrance, bus and mediators so that schoolchildren and high school students can discover the works at the Villa Tamaris, now devoted to all genres of Photography.

Michael Puech

Published in The Eyes of Photographies

The photographic and calligraphic exhibition “Journey in democracy” will be held from January 29, 2022 to May 7, 2022 at Villa Tamaris in La Seyne-sur-mer (Var). We will see thirty monumental photographs by Gérard Rancinan, a writing installation and a sound installation by Caroline Gaudriault and the artistic film “Les Immortels” directed by Gérard Rancinan and Caroline Gaudriault. ( admission free)

Villa Tamaris centre d’art
295, avenue de la Grande Maison
83500 La Seyne sur Mer

Gérard Rancinan’s interview was recorded on January 22, 2022 by Michel Puech
Listen to the interview: