Pierre Molinier (April 13, 1900 – March 3, 1976) was a painter, photographer and “maker of objects”. He was born in Agen (France) and lived his life in Bordeaux (France). He began his career by painting landscapes, but his work turned towards a fetishistic eroticism early on.
Molinier began to take photographs at the age of 18. When Molinier’s sister died in 1918, he is alleged to have had sex with her corpse while left alone to photograph it. “‘Even dead, she was beautiful. I shot sperm on her stomach and legs, and onto the First Communion dress she was wearing. She took with her into death the best of me.”
Molinier started his erotic production around 1950. With the aid of a wide range of specially made ‘props’ – dolls, various prosthetic limbs, stiletto heels, dildos and an occasional confidante – Pierre Molinier focused upon his own body as the armature for a constructive form that ultimately produced a large body of photographic work. Most of his photographs, photomontages, are self-portraits of himself as a woman.
He began a correspondence with André Breton and sent him photographs of his paintings. Later Breton integrated him into the Surrealist group. Breton organized an exhibition of Molinier’s paintings in Paris, in January-February 1956.
Pierre Molinier’s enigmatic photographs have influenced European and North American body artists since the 1970s, including Jürgen Klauke, Cindy Sherman and Ron Athey, and his work continues to engage artists, critics, and collectors today.
In the 1970s, Molinier’s health began to decline. Like his father before him, Pierre Molinier committed suicide at 76 years of age by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.