GUILLOT Bernard (1950)

Bernard Guillot was born in Basil, Switzerland in 1950.  Living in Paris, the French Massif Central region and Egypt, he has always worked in both painting and photography.

On graduating from the Beaux-Arts school in Paris in 1975, he lived for over two years in New York, but it was Egypt and Cairo that decisively oriented his life and his inspiration.

Bernard Guillot exhibits his work regularly in Europe, Egypt and New York.  He is the winner of the grant « Villa Médicis hors-les-murs », which led to his work Etude sur la Nécropole du Caire.  He is also the winner of the Prix Nadar in 2003 for his book Le Pavillon Blanc (published by Editions Filligranes)


Being asked to bear witness to the mystery of the Passion is an honor and, over and above that, a challenge.  The dimension of the Passion is so subjective, so irrational that we are enjoined—in our soul and conscience, in our comportment, through what we live and the choices we make—to experience it ourselves. Our psyches have been solicited in what is most intimate to us, whether or not this could be called the soul.  The drama of the death of Christ is engraved in all of us, in the sovereign intimacy of our existence, of our destiny, during the moments that engrave our passage on earth. It is a direct link, an infinitely subtle one, between God and us.  All the rest, speaking of imagery and illustration, is the stockpiling of aesthetic and references relating to both the cult of faith and culture itself. Here they come together as signs of power, incantation, or exorcism.



I think that what we are proposing in the public place, at this moment at the crypt of Notre-Dame de la Treille in Lille, plays out along these two sides : one provides more light and is brighter than the other-- the image and the icon, painting and posturing flame and smoke. 

Photography renders, I believe, the idea of waiting, of suspended time, of the premonition of a drama, in any case a teetering on the edge of two realities.  We may, then, through the bias of raw experience engraved photographically, bind ourselves to these days of the Passion, but also to the long wait through the night.  As for the works using India Ink, these were created in Cairo in the wake of the Egyptian revolution, to which I was a witness.  The human dimension was deployed with passion on a universal scale.  Thus the necessity of black and white.  I think that this photographic triptych brings to mind Golgotha with its three crosses, that of Christ and those of the two thieves.



Bernard Guillot- November 2016



-Three photographs are excerpts from a series using the image of divers.  They initiated my entry into the world of creation as a part of life. I was 17 or 18 years of age.  They speak of the passage from one reality to another that is also symbolic of the necessity to accomplish and to leap into the unknown.

The series from this church in Paris was taken in the formidable grotto that is dedicated to Saint Sulpice.  The photos bear witness to my spiritual and existential disarray after my return from New York in the seventies.  I see this series as an initiation pathway, with several stops along the way, as a struggle against nothingness, a crucial stage in life.

-This photograph, a self portrait, taken in the Sinaï region, near the Saint Catherine monastery , shows a crucial moment in my life, one of urgency and necessity, at the threshold of my thirties.  I am one of the two thieves on Golgotha.

This triptych of the Fayoum brings us to the disarray of waiting.  Could these French tourists lost in the Egyptian desert be Roman soldiers playing their knucklebone game, not far from the cross in the desolation of Golgotha ?



-The Triptych,  « Ce jour-là » (That Particular Day) was taken in Tanis, an ancient Ramesside capital of the Nile in Egypt, that has become an immense hillside of ruins and rubbish : colossal statues (Ramses II) fallen to earth, debris, the erasure of a world.   That particular day January 25, 2011, marked the first day of the Egyptian revolution.  We had no idea of what was going on in Cairo.  Yet within us, insidiously, there was the feeling of torpor, of emptiness, of falling apart, the institution of destiny called into question. 

The landscapes of dust (and which desert do they come from?), found inside the Monastery Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, dilute the gaze, lose themselves, and then start searching for themselves.  These landscapes join that landscape, even more profound, of tragedy.  The powders are blended together, but in a last look that puts things in order, they are the quintessence of that which must disintegrate in man and give itself over to the obscure forces of night, without which no metamorphosis can be possible.”

Excerpt from the catalogue of the exhibition « A ciel ouvert » at the Monastère Notre-Dame-des-Miracles in Saorge, France (Summer 2011)