Pierre Molinier

France, 1900 - 1976

Creator and ‘creature’, Pierre Molinier was born on a Friday the 13th in 1900 and took his own life 76 years later. Known primarily for the scandalous nature of his works, the Bordeaux-based artist was painter, a drawer, a poet and a photographer and developed a fascination for all things androgynous. Molinier spent much of his career working in isolation, exiled from local and national art scenes. He was thrown out of the Bordeaux Salon des Indépendants in 1951 amidst controversy over his orgiastic painting of the same year, Le Grand Combat. The Surrealists likewise first exhibited and then rejected him. His paintings and photomontages of him, in which he cut up and rearranged his own image of him, turning it into a many-limbed, multi-sexed being, certainly appealed to the group’s interest in repressed desires, fetishism, and the transgression of bourgeois morals. In any case, Molinier’s manipulated self-portraits and depictions of himself as a rubber sex doll, had more in common with those on the margins of Surrealism like Bellmer and Claude Cahun. It was only in the last years of his life that he was rediscovered by a generation of artists exploring gender performance, like the Swiss artist, Luciano Castelli. Molinier was included in the groundbreaking 1974 exhibition, curated by Jean-Christophe Ammann ‘Transformer: Aspects of Travesty’ at Kunstmuseum Lucerne, Switzerland and posthumously he achieved notoriety, influencing artists as diverse as Ron Athey and Cindy Sherman.