Gerard Petrus Fieret (1924 – 2009) was born in Den Haag (The Hague) in the Netherlands where he worked and spent his life, except for the year 1943 when he was transported to Germany and worked as a forced labourer. After a year and a half, Fieret was able to escape and continue his bohemian life as an artist and poet in his hometown. In 1959 Fieret acquired a pre-owned 35mm Praktiflex SLR, and shifted to photography as his main source of artistic expression pursuing a career in portrait and street photography.
In his hometown, Fieret was a well-known public figure. He met his “models”, or rather everyday women, on the streets and in cafés. The photographs shown at Galerie Julian Sander were shot in the 1960s and -70s, when Fieret focused on portraying women in black-and-white silver gelatine prints. Besides self-portraits of the artist, these portraits constitute the main subject in Fierets œuvre. The women are staged in any possible manner, sometimes in very unusual poses, very often as nudes. Although some of the pictures are explicitly erotic, all the photographs show his personal relation to the models and are the result of a free-spirited workflow, as Fieret allowed them to move freely and be themselves. The artists affection for his Models is translated into the photos, thus saving them from being pornographic and mirroring beautifully the liberal spirit of the time.
It is said that Fieret was afraid of theft and copyright infringement throughout his career and therefor claimed his work distinctively by making the prints unique and clearly assigned to him with his signature on the front and stamps all over the print. Nevertheless, all of Fierets photographs are untitled.
Another remarkable fact of Fierets work is the condition of his prints, which are often cracked, stained, dirty and show traces of footprints, in short a conservator’s nightmare. But those traces and condition issues are part of Fierets working process and refer to his approach to art, for it was his aim to produce „art for art’s sake”, elevating the importance of the subject and formation of the photograph over the print.
Fieret’s playful, free-spirited and experimental stance on photography shows his great affection for the medium, while ignoring handed down rules and established technical modalities.