PETER RIGAUD WIEN/BERLIN
Peter Rigaud, Photographer and Filmmaker, born in Salzburg/Austria. Peter lives in Vienna and Berlin, working for international Editorial and Advertising Clients.Represented by Shotview.com
Magazin and Newspaper:
Vogue Germany, Vogue Brasil, Vogue Paris, Stern, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Die Zeit Magazin, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Red Bulletin, brand eins, GEO Saison, GEO Saison, GEO, National Geographic, Vanity Fair, Numero Russia, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New Yorker, W Magazin, Vogue Russia, Salon, Der Standard/Rondo, Nomad_Magazin, Sleek, IDEAT, Profil, ART Magazin, Weltkunst, Lufthansa Exklusiv Magazin, Cicero, Forbes, Fortune, Flaunt Magazin, D la Repubblica
Advertising und Corporate:
Uni Credit HVB, Vodafone, Wien Tourismus, Erste Bank, T-Mobile, Red Bull, Procter & Gamble, Siemens, BMW, Universal Music, Sony Music, Swarovski, Silhouette, Mercedes, Raiffeisen, Sacher Hotel, B Win, Meinl Cafe, Dr. Hauschka, Vöslauer, Swatch,
Bill Murray, Isabelle Huppert, Nina Kraviz, Georgia May Jagger, John Malkovich, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Plummer, Michael Haneke, Ulrich Seidl, Wim Wenders, David Cronenberg, Paula Beer, Martina Gedeck, Lars Eidinger, Bjarne Mädel, Caroline Peters, Gert Voss, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Birgit Minichmayr, Bibiane Beglau, Nicholas Ofczarek, Ulrich Tukur, Joachim Meyerhoff Mario Adorf, Roman Polanski
Marina Abramovic, Tomas Saraceno, Jeff Koons, Max Hollein, Neo Rauch, Sean Scully, Gregor Hildebrandt, Jonas Burgert, Elmgreen + Dragset, Anselm Kiefer, Annette Messager, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Thomas Struth, Julia Stoschek, Leiko Ikemura, Günther Brus, Mike Kelley, Olafur Eliasson, Franz West, Elisabeth Peyton, Erwin Wurm, Jonathan Meese, Keren Cytter, Fatima Al Qadiri, Hans Peter Feldmann, Maria Lassnig, Tal R,
Nina Kraviz, Moby, Peaches, Coco Rosie, Chilly Gonzales, Georgia May Jagger, Alondra de la Parra, Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, Andreas Schager, Daniel Barenboim, Olga Neuwirth
Elfriede Jelinek, Daniel Kehlmann, Peter Sloterdijk, Amos Oz, Clemens Setz, Richard David Precht, Jonathan Safran Foer, Richard Ford, Jeffrey Eugenides, Vea Kaiser, Helene Hegemann, Roberto Saviano, André Heller,
Daniel Libeskind, David Chipperfield, Jean Nouvel, Wolf D.Prix Coop Himmelb(l)au, Konstantin Grcic, Hella Jongerius, Martino Gamper, Jerszy Seymour, James Dyson, Joop, Christian Louboutin, Pierre Cardin,
Angela Merkel, Frank Walter Steinmeier, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Katharina Barley, Heiko Maas, Martin Schulz, Horst Seehofer, Joschka Fischer, Rene Benko, Mathias Döpfner, Joe Kaeser, Dietrich Mateschitz, Joachim Löw, Stefan Quandt, Gabriele Quandt
„Portraits“ Verlag Christian Brandstätter 2008
„Vienna“ Echo Media Verlag 2008
„Light/Night Jean Nouvel Tower“ Verlag Christian Brandstätter 2010
„Herr Ober“ Shotview Edition 2014
„Burg“ Echo Verlag 2016
„Zum Schwarzen Kameel“ CSV 2018
Galerie Amer Abbas Projektraum, „Portraits“ 2008
Galerie Artbits, „Vienna“ 2008
Leica Gallery Salzburg; „Portraits“ 2010
Jüdisches Museum Wien, „Jude Sein, Bitte fotografieren Sie für mich…“ 2011
Austrian Cultural Institut, Vilnius , 2013
Austrian Cultural Institut, Rome, 2013
Austrian Cultural Institut, Milan 2014
Austrian Cultural Institut, Berlin 2014
Austrian Cultural Institut, Athen 2015
Austrian Cultural Institut, Prag 2015
The Rigaud Sessions
by Nina Schedlmayer
“The photographic portrait”, Richard Avedon once said, “is the picture of someone, who knows that he is being photographed, and that which he chooses to do with this knowledge becomes just as much an element and constituent part of the photograph as what he is wearing or how he looks. He is intimately involved in the process which unfurls and he has a certain influence on the artistic result.”Peter Rigaud really knows best about such mechanisms. When he speaks about his portraits, he likes to talk in terms of a “sitting” or a “session.” This phraseology describes less a physical position of the body, but rather much more the fact that the “sitter” – as they are called in portraiture – must actually get involved with the “process which unfurls”. This then becomes a kind of ping-pong match between the subject and the taker of the photograph: Only through this two-way back and forth movement, through the verbal as well as non-verbal dialogue, can a space for pictorial possibilities arise. The impulsive, spur of the moment snapping away of fleets of photojournalists is not Rigaud’s forte – rather the concentrated, tentative study of his “objects”, which moves the photographic work towards the field of painting itself: It is a question of a “comprehension” of personalities.
Unlike many of his colleagues, Rigaud approaches his profession in a rather undogmatic way: his portraits allow self-dramatisation just as much as his own pioneering analysis. Just like in the cooperation between actor and director, he occasionally develops new image ideas in conjunction with the subject of his portrait during the process of the photograph – or alternatively, these new ideas become involved with his suggestions and proposals. Sometimes his images – always painstakingly composed – thematise the theatrical dimension of taking photographs and being photographed itself: The studio and workshop of the artist Plamen Dejanoff, in which the artist sits between his sculptures, appears like a stage. The director David Cronenberg steps forward from behind a curtain. Ulrich Tukur and Katharina John pose stiffly, skulls and fossilised features and countenances. Rolando Villazon seems incapable of doing anything else but throwing himself into dramatic postures. Pictures such as this do not at all deny the degree to which they have been constructed and composed.
There are also those, which above all manage to get that “decisive moment”, that “instant décisif” as Henri Cartier-Bresson called it: “A photograph”, he wrote, “means to me, the simultaneous recognition, in a split second, of both the meaning of an event as well as also the exact structure of visible shapes and forms which it expresses.”In an almost incredible way, sometimes precisely that exact event, which can happen so irreducibly in a person’s facial expressions, will appear to Rigaud. That split second, in which the personality is literally captured, is often the same one in which they reveal and disclose a significant facet of their being. This does not necessarily have to arouse sympathy. There, for example, reclines Hans Hollein, known worldwide as a leading architect with a not inconsiderable amount of self-confidence, on the ascent to the Albertina, under the flying roof he designed himself – at first glance he might appear as an elegant old gentleman, who is looking back serenely at his past and also his work; at closer inspection, however, the slight arrogance and pretension with which he does this is revealed. It is a similar story with the portrait of the philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, who seems to be acutely aware of just how distinguished he is – which is manifested in just a tiny detail, namely his small, slightly splayed out finger.
For such photography to occur, even a professional such as Rigaud requires either a lot of time – or luck. A good photo can, so he says, can come into being within two minutes – or alternatively quite the reverse may happen, and in two days, nothing satisfactory for him will materialise. What is most striking about really good portrait photography, however, is that on the one hand it expresses and reveals the character of a person– while on the other hand being so well composed as to rouse the interest of the observer. A painter can sketch and prepare a composition, and then go on, using this plan, to translate it into the real thing. In photography, this is just not possible, for the flow of motion and movement of people and spaces is too difficult to control. In the best case, a vague notion and idea of the composition can be brought together as a matrix.
The matter is made more complex by the fact that Rigaud always takes photographs “on location”. This gives him the possibility to tell something of the occupation and environs of his counterpart. Cartier-Bresson himself demanded that “the photograph should be sensitive of atmosphere, and should incorporate the living environs into the photograph; above all it should avoid devices and gimmicks, which only serve to kill the truth about people.”Rigaud names August Sander as one of his sources of inspiration. Sander left his studio early in his efforts, in compiling a sort of typology of the profession, and visited the subjects of his portraits at their own places of work: The master confectioner is stirring a large pot; the young farmers are crossing a field. The objects of Sander’s photography appear beautiful, in the traditional sense of this word, only in the fewest of cases – the photographer clearly has no interest in idealised portrayals, and rather he displays a neutral way of observing his objects. Rigaud, too, does not have to worry about conveying his protagonists into picture in as flattering a way as possible, as might a fashion photographer, but he can rather afford himself the luxury of striking the most realistic statement about the person themselves, and their work. The way in which they are made embedded in their “living environment” varies: Friederike Mayröcker perhaps peers out from behind a papery pre-Alpine landscape. The artist-curator Mike Kelley sits among several pieces which he has assembled into an installation, just as if he himself belonged there, too. The photographer Michael Schlager appears in the same way among his own photos of workers in the Danzig shipyards. The architect Peter Eisenman almost disappears, initially in the stone desert of the “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe” in Berlin, which he himself designed, and then in his „Ciudad de la Cultura de Galicia“ which is currently in the process of planning in Santiago de Compostela. Erwin Wurm, made famous by his “One Minute Sculptures” becomes one of these sculptures himself – in the Natural History Museum, he lies, threatened by the “thick skinned beasts”, down on the floor, as if this was the most natural thing in the world.
Sometimes, however, those being photographed work ostensibly against their surroundings; for example, somewhere amidst the chaos of his studio the artist Jonathan Meese salutes – those who are familiar with his work will know that this image is particular fitting for both the artist and his art. Wolf D. Prix departs smilingly from a model of one of the utopian pieces of architecture, which he designed with his colleagues in his early stages. In some scarcely prestigious backyard, the opera singer Katharina Wagner plays the Grande Dame, who seemingly has nothing to do with the prevailing disarray and mess – this too is no incongruous image.
In connection with the portrait photography of Gisèle Freund there was once talk of how “a deepening investigating and a dissecting analysis of the habitual, engrosses and claims the overriding significance.”This is equally applicable to the works of Peter Rigaud. As the 21stCentury begins, they represent truly exceptional cases.
Quoted from: Klaus Honnef: “Das Porträt im Zeitalter der Umbrüche”, in: Klaus Honnef, Jan Thorn Prikker (Hg.): Lichtbildnisse. Das Porträt in der Fotografie, Rheinland Verlag, Köln 1982, pp. 568 – 643, pp. 590 f.
Henri Cartier-Bresson: „L‘ instant décisif“, in: Image à la sauvette, Editions Verve, Paris 1952; quoted from: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Auf der Suche nach dem rechten Augenblick. Aufsätze zur Photographie und Erinnerungen an Freunde. Translated from the French by Birgit Opiela, Ed. Pixis, Berlin 1998, pp. 28.
Ibid, pp. 20.
Georg F. Schwarzbauer: “Das Künstlerporträt in der Fotografie des 20. Jahrhunderts”, in: Honnef / Pirker 1982, pp. 242 – 387, here pp. 246.
Peter Rigaud was born in Salzburg in 1968 and now lives in both Vienna and Berlin. A workshop under the guidance of Martin Parr was his first introduction into the world of photography. He then went on to study photographic design at the renowned Lette-Verein in Berlin, working as a photographic assistant in NYC, Chicago and Cleveland. In 1996/97 he lived and worked in NYC and since 1997 he works as a freelance photographer in Vienna.
His photos appear regularly in international magazines and periodicals such as French Vogue, German Vogue, Die Zeit (Magazin), SZ Magazin, Stern, Vanity Fair Deutschland, profil, amongst many others.