Playing hide-and-seek with Carla Bruni
Coming over to Brussels for the summer sales, next week? Heading to the posh Louisa-neighbourhood? Do take ten minutes out of your shopping spree to check out the well-hidden Young Gallery at the Conrad Hotel, for a nice exhibition of Michel Comte‘s celebrity pictures. Apparently the French embassy did go and check it out too, before it opened. Because Comte is the photographer who took the picture of a naked Carla Bruni that was sold at a Christie’s auction last year for 91.000 dollar.
Michel Comte is a Swiss photographer who scored his first job in Paris in ’79, shooting a Chloë-campaign for Karl Lagerfeld. Since then he has travelled the world and photographed heaps of famous people. He worked for glossy magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and Interview, and did lots of publicity-shoots (Michael Jordan for Nike, George Clooney for Nespresso), and along the way became good friends with Michael Schumacher and Sean Penn. He did go to war zones too, works for the International Red Cross, and has his own Michel Comte Water Foundation, helping to bring water to those on this planet who need it the most.
But the exhibition at the Young Gallery focuses on his portraits of famous people. There are lots of supermodels to be spotted, with Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, Iman and Giselle Bündchen. Sharon Stone is hanging on the walls, as are Catherine Deneuve, Iggy Pop, Jeremy Irons, Yves Saint Laurent and Pamela Anderson. Most of the pictures are big and very glossy and have been done in a style that, to me at least, feels a bit outdated. (Is it because most of the pictures you see here are from the nineties?)
And yes, there’s a picture of Carla Bruni too. But she’s quite unrecognisable. Several newspapers have written that Pascal Young was asked by the French embassy in Brussels not to put a naked Bruni on his walls. He complied. And so you won’t see a picture from the Safe Sex Campaign Comte shot in ’93 when Bruni was still a model. But Bruni is still there. And there’s a picture of Helena Christensen from that same Campaign.
Michel Comte, at Young Gallery (Wiltcher’s Place/Conrad Hotel), until August 1.
(photo’s by kind permission of Pascal Young/Young Gallery)