François Prost‘s “Gentlemen’s Club” was presented by Galerie du Jour during Paris Photo, “After Party” (project behind the series “Gentlemen’s Club” which compiles images of nightclub facades in France) will be exhibited during of the Photaumnales festival at the Quadrilatère in Beauvais until January 2, 2022.
Preface to the book by Valérie Timmermans
Strip club, elite, fantasy, dream,
Platinium, VIP, pleasures, Oasis,
Pink palm tree, neon,
Boom, celebrate, taboo …
Adjectives, qualifiers, invitations.
These attractors that line our roads and that we believe to be thoughtful and inspired have a single goal: to sell dreams, to encourage us to get out of our comfort zone, to leave a perfectly standardized universe for a few moments and to venture into the field of vice and, perhaps, virtue. Whoever has never wanted, for one evening, to be this “bourgeois gentleman” daring to push the doors of the Platinium to approach with envy the maidens, stand up or be silent forever!
How not to be tempted by these invitations to enter, for an evening or a night, these places called “debauchery”, to dream of being the one who proudly or with some trepidation will enter these “Gentlemen’s” Club ”to instantly become the object of attention, the fearless and blameless high roller and perhaps one of those kings of the night. The trip that François offers us is intended to be more than just visual pleasure, even if it is undoubtedly confusing. This “Gentlemen’s Club” is a ticket for a foray into another dimension, a parallel universe which gives us the opportunity to touch with our eyes the world of the night, this intriguing universe, marked out by actors with often unbridled but never devoid of sexuality. of humanity and empathy.
Since the glorious 1970s – those which, thanks to the daring of William Jenkins, saw the birth of a current which will profoundly transform the very history of photography: the “New Topographics” – photographers have never stopped to be inspired by the evolution of urban architecture, ever denser, ever more flamboyant. All these facades, these constructions, imprints of an often dull banality which, without having the aestheticism of a magical landscape, of a pretty woman or of the “magic moment”, push the photographer to look beyond these decorations in cardboard to find what will cause this quivering, this release of endorphin that will push him to stop rolling to immortalize them.
We imagine François, image hunter, attracted by the song of these suburban sirens, crisscrossing the roads and discovering in often improbable places the facades of these places of perdition magnified in their concrete setting, marveling at them, capturing them, invent a story and then continue, enticed by the next nugget to discover. The road trip is exquisite in that it offers a kind of imaginary journey studded with the unexpected and wonder. Let us beware of seeing in it a kitsch vision, borrowing from pathetism or voyeurism, it is not!
Now is the time to come closer, good people, prick up your ears, come closer, you will end up hearing the clinking of glasses of champagne or sniffing the curls of cigars hovering in the air, time to suspend its flight …
For the more daring capable of going through these clichés, those will be able to soak up the perfume of these men, these women, smell the gomina in the hair, guess the excitement, the feverishness, the pride or the courage, the forgetting and perhaps rethinking with nostalgia to Charles Bukowski who, in his “Love poem to a stripper”, thought of those moments out of reality: “[…] I watched the girls wiggle and undress at the Burbank and at the Follies and it was sad and very spectacular with the lights going from green to purple to pink and the music was loud and rhythmic, and tonight I’m here smoking and listening to classical music but I still remember some of their names: Darlene, Candy, Jeanette and Rosalie. ”
It is at this precise moment, when passing through this stargate, that we will reach the place where François the photographer wanted to take us. Welcome, there will be something for everyone and for all tastes. Photography has this power, everyone can take and find in it what they want, interpret, appropriate it, transform into Darlene, Candy or Rosalie: to each their own.
The “Gentlemen’s Club” book is available for purchase : https://www.fisheyemagazine.fr/store/produit/francois-prost-gentlemens-club/