Olivia Ciappa – “Les couples imaginaires” and “Les couples de la République”

2016, a selection of photographs from Olivia Ciappa's series “Les couples imaginaires” (Imaginary Couples) and “Les couples de la République” (Couples of the Republic) were exhibited at Genshagen Castle as part of the event “Academy under the Trees – How far should art be allowed to go? On freedom of art and the return of the religious”. These two series were created in reaction to the growing homophobia in France following the debate on the “marriage for all” in 2012.

“Homophobia is primarily a sign for a lack of knowledge about homosexuality, for a falsified, sometimes unrealistic view. Above all I wanted to train the eye by confronting the viewer with the tenderness and simplicity of approximately sixty photographs, which intend to change the viewer’s perspective, so he can focus on the essentials: love, nothing but love.

Nothing could have more importance than creating imaginary couples which are represented with gentleness by personalities we love and consider idols. Surprisingly sincere photos that are meant to be both artistic and incredibly realistic, just like a movie scene that engraves in our memory. Dozens of people supported me in my project: actors, singers, athletes, writers or politicians. Their immediate commitment made it possible for me to portray my version of love in its universal shape.

From now on, it is no longer me who speaks, but them. And through them, the French people who praise them. In order to strengthen my intention, it was essential for me to combine these photos of imaginary couples with real couples and families, gay or straight. Healthy or handicapped lovers, single-parent families, people with different skin colour and religion, young or elder people. These are the couples and families of the republic who make us realise that – no matter wherein we differ – love is the same for all of us. These couples are all of us.”

Olivia Ciappa

  • Couples imaginaires, Roselyne Bachelot et Audrey Pulvar. Ancienne ministre et journalistes │© Olivia Ciappa

  • Couple imaginaires, Eva Longoria et Lara Fabian. Actrice et chanteuse │© Olivia Ciappa

  • Couple imaginaires, Florent Manaudou et Frédérick Bousquet. Champions Olympiques de natation │© Olivia Ciappa

  • Couples de la République │© Olivia Ciappa

  • © René Arnold

  • © René Arnold