The Platinum Egg 1989: François Gillet.

On a spring day in 1971, a young man arrives in Stockholm for a meeting with Lars Hall, by then already a well-known figure. The visitor could just as well have been from Mars, as alien as he was in the social climate of the Swedish welfare state in the early 70s. Francois Gillet was a missionary, and his mission was to open Nordic eyes to the sensual and the extravagant. Illusion. Desire. Life. It was to be a long crusade. Indeed, it is still going on.... Early in his Normandy childhood, Francois decided to become an artist, preferably a painter. It was not to be. During a period when he was studying in England, he discovered photography. From that moment on, he went his own way. Tirelessly. Always with a large-format, 8x10 camera. He edited every photo, often still lifes, with endless patience. The finished image must never be manipulated. This odd Frenchman was quickly noticed. Alf Mork, the brightest star of the era, hired him as Arbman’s house photographer. It seemed simplest to have him on the spot. They produced legendary campaigns for Flora, Kosta Boda and Renault, among others. Calls started coming from abroad, from eminent London agencies like BBH, CDP and Saatchi & Saatchi. The jam and marmalade empire Bon Maman in Paris. Wine in Australia. Galleries in Tokyo. Shows in Paris, Stockholm, Milan and Sydney. Francois Gillet was never afraid of looking pretentious. Mais non! Francois has come to rescue us from minimalist ennui, even when it comes to language. Here is how he describes his photo series “Suite Automnale”: “These vegetal individuals are the image of ourselves, our short time on earth and the outcome, our slow decline. But also an image of rebirth, a renewal of hope.” If you have seen the photos, you know it’s true.

After the Platinum Egg: Francois Gillet is still active as an artist and divides his time between houses in Nye, Sweden and Morocco.