Exhibitions History

Galleria Gracis

DOWN TO EARTH exhibition

When: 03.02.2022 – 04.03.2022.




Gallery Gracis 


Piazza Castello, 16 – 20121 Milano tel. +39 02 877 807
e-mail: gracis@gracis.com

When: 03.02.2022 – 04.03.2022.


from Monday to Friday: 10 am – 1 pm / 2 pm – 6 pm


Photo&Contemporary Galleria  Via dei Mille 36 – 10123 Turin tel. +39 011 889 884

e-mail: info@photoandcontemporary.com

When: 08.03.2022 – 03.04.2022.

The exhibition is organised by Luca Gracis in collaboration with Valerio Tazzetti, whose contemporary art gallery in Turin, Photo&Contemporary, will host it from Tuesday 8th March to 3rd April 2022.

The title evokes a fall, a return to the essential, to realism, to the myth of origin: Piel’s project is, in fact, a celebration of nature and fertility, which correlates bodies and earth, growth and death, rural and urban, nature and culture, apparent opposites that interpenetrate in the shots he made digitally with a Hasselblad H4D at Chateau de Padiès.

It is here, in southwestern France, that Piel moved with his wife and child after 9/11, in a sort of retreat from the world, which had lost his innocence, to live in closer contact with nature, rediscovering the cycles of life and the need to do one’s own to safeguard mother earth from the climate change crisis.

The works, which are inspired by the sustainable and regenerative organic agriculture practised in Les Jardins du Château de Padiès, portray the natural world, revisiting classical mythology and creating echoes with the history of Western art of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Cultivated lands, woods, harvest products, male and female bodies at rest and at work weave parallels with iconic and mythical works: naked, like nymphs and satyrs, they breathe and pulsate within the images, inhabiting an almost dreamlike landscape, beyond the space and time, but equally imbued with life.

The predominance of black and white enhances textures and shapes, creating a strong contrast with the four images that close the exhibition in an explosion of colours, which restores the concreteness and sensuality of the material, enhancing it in the beauty of its perfection.

Alongside the images from Down to Earth, the exhibition also features Everyday Reality, a series of portraits of workers who contributed to the maintenance and production of Les Jardins du Chàteau de Padiès through the WWOOF organization: these represent both an aspect of Down to Earth. Earth laid bare, is the animating breath of the project.

A special edition of “Down to Earth”, containing a limited edition print will be available for sale within the exhibition.

Special Edition “Everyday Reality”


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The State Hermitage Museum. 11.12.2021 – 13.03.2022

Beauty and Style. The History of Fashion Photography from the Collection of The Still Art Foundation

The display tells the story of fashion photography from the second half of the 20th century onwards and acquaints the viewer with the main motifs in the contemporary presentation of fashion through the example of works from the collection of the Still Art Foundation. The display features original prints from Erwin Blumenfeld, Horst P. Horst, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin that have already become classics.

The exhibition is dedicated to photography development in the 20-21st centuries and is based on the largest Russian private collection belonging to the Still Art Foundation. The project curator is Natalia Grigorieva, who is the collection curator and the owner of Lumiere Gallery. The collection includes the most iconic prints by you, Richard Avedon, Horst P. Horst, Erwin Blumenfeld, Bert Stern, William Klein, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Herb Ritts, Peter Lindbergh, Mario Testino, Paolo Roversi, Arthur Elgort, Ellen von Unwerth, Albert Watson, Tim Walker, Erik Madigan Heck, among others. and yours truly denis piel.

“Tatiana Patitz, Laetitia Firmin-Didot, Cannes, Paris A New Mood, Vogue USA. 1986”


Arches Premium art papers, since 1492

https://arches-papers.com/artistes/denis-piel/Staley Wise

StaleyWise exhibition sweet-dreams


The Reflected Eye



Philips & the Soil Association
Phillips, 30 Berkeley Square, London W1J 6EX. Feb 2018


Buy Down to Earth book

DOWN TO EARTH flipbook:


DOWN TO EARTH Showcases sustainable and regenerative organic farming that is practised at Denis Piel’s home at Les Jardins du Chateau de Padies, as well as by the carvings on the Chateau Renaissance facades of ancient Greek mythological figures depicting fertility and abundance. Fertility and abundance feature heavily across these storyscapes, instilling them with an authentic sense of erotic, challenging beauty.

“The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible.”

Lady Eve Balfour, Soil Association founder

FILM STILLS. Fashion Photography.
Lumière Brothers Center of Photography, Moscow

The exhibition focuses on the 1980s –– highlighting his innovative cinematic approach to fashion photography.


I designed the book FILMSCAPES when Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography in Moscow approached me to have an exhibition focusing on my fashion work. I looked at the various Exhibitions that followed after the publication of MOMENTS and thought this would be an excellent opportunity to show my process in an Exhibition-form. Seduced by the idea “FILM STILLS – FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY by denis piel” became a reality. It was a resounding success.

The book FILMSCAPES published in 2020

The exhibition focuses on the 1980s –– highlighting his innovative cinematic approach to fashion photography.

Buy Filmscapes book

Filmscapes flipbook

MOMENTS book signing at Staley Wise Gallery USA.

These photographs date from 1979 to 2007.

My earlier work jettisoned overboard when the ship transporting my possessions to New York caught in a storm at sea.

The images in this book represent a cross-section of my personal and editorial work since that time. Sometimes the most interesting image is the one you don’t see, what happened before and after the frame. But that comes from the imagination of the viewer.

Denis Piel has an obsession with the language of the body. Call it entanglement. With his distinctive eye, he takes the familiar and turns it into another understanding. Seduction and sensuality it is, but never thin in thought. When I was working with Denis, I was fascinated with his direction when shooting an image. He seemed to want to capture the off-moment. Awkwardly positioning the body—not necessarily familiar but also never vulgar. Was it daring? No—it was interesting. It was different, honest, and a reality particular to Denis. We are talking about a very sophisticated eye.

It comes from an awareness of life. His pictures are never cold—sometimes cinematic—always hands-on, and, for me, captivating.

December 2011

Buy Moments book

Moments flipbook:


Milan: MIA Fair 2014

During the Milan Image Art Fair, the Galleria PACK exhibited a noted vintage series from the photographer Denis Piel. This is the first exhibition of New Mexico, the iconic photographic series shot in 1984, and the first-ever showing of Piel’s work in Italy.

This series of photographs was created in 1984 during the photographer’s ten-day excursion into the desert near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Inspired by this isolated experience in the desert with only two models and an 8×10 large-format camera, piel created a narrative journey depicting two lovers escaping the traps of civilization for the chance of unfettered, primal connection.

Piel’s New Mexico series serves as a catalyst, thirty years later, for his current project Down To Earth. This current body of work explores our society’s collective urge to return to nature through landscapes, still-lives and constructed realities depicting nudes within the natural landscape.





ESSENCE, Rove Gallery, London. The UK.
Rove Gallery London, Lincoln House, 33-34 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NN



Essence, a solo show by photographer and filmmaker denis piel

ROVE Gallery, Hoxton Square, London N1 6NN

April 4th 2013 to April 27th 2013

essence (noun) the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, which determines its character

The exhibition investigates reoccurring thematic concerns within the photographer’s practice, articulating his search for the elemental, authentic qualities in all that he shoots.

Kenny Schachter/ROVE presents ESSENCE, a solo show by photographer and filmmaker Denis Piel, which gives a selection of images that offer an articulation of his search within his practice for essential and authentic.

Rising to prominence in the 1980s in the field of fashion photography, Piel became renowned for producing edgy, sensual images by playing with the idea of physical need in parallel with desire.

Piel stripped back the ephemeral within personal projects, seeking to capture what he terms a ‘real’ moment.

Essence presents images from his commercial work and personal projects which deconstruct critical components of the fashion image: the garment, the body, the face, the location.

Irrespective of the context in which Piel has produced photographic images, his work’s abiding essence is a celebration of the sensual, a celebration of the body.

PRESS; https://vimeo.com/77639589

MOMENTS exposition Galerie PINXIT

FACESCAPES TRANSISTION (video), Musée du Textile à Labastide Rouairoux, France

FACESCAPES, Musée du Point de Vue, Brussels, Belguim

FACESCAPES, Theatre de Castres, Castres, France 

FACESCAPES, Museu de Traje, Lisbon, Portugal

FACESCAPES dates from 2006-8.

I feel more than ever it is pertinent.

In FACESCAPES, I reveal the commonality of the human condition, a way of looking at the mileage of the human clock. FACESCAPES offers a new way of defining ourselves, a way for us to look at our commonality: the basic bottom-line needs that ultimately define us, beyond our ancestry, religion, language, history, customs or institutions, to understand ourselves beyond Nationalism. Today with Nationalism taking an isolationist point of view, it seems essential to remind ourselves we are all one. Our strengths are multiplied by this, not by isolating us from each other.

With FACESCAPES, I try to follow a humanist tradition of getting in close on the subject, creating landscapes of faces, faces as a field, revealing contours and valleys like an aerial view of any terrain. An aerial view of our humanity.

We are all one race born from the same material.

The poet Saadi Shirazi expressed it perfectly in the 13th century: “The children of Adam are limbs to each other, having been created of one essence.”

We define ourselves by our differences more often than not, but what if we were to define ourselves by what we have in common? There is a real message of peace: we are all ‘us’!

Regardless of our apparent differences, we are all the same.

So far, this project has taken me to a village in China, one in Australia, and the village of Lempaut in France.

PRESS: Press https://vimeo.com/26668638

Buy Facescapes book

Facescapes flipbook:

FACESCAPES, Alliance Francaise, Sydney, Australia

PLATESCAPES – Way of Arts, Lisbon, Portugal

Platescapes is a diary of the celebration of life and time spent around a table, conversations inspired by food, and friendships.

This series developed into a book is an extension of the exhibition. The book, like the exhibition, celebrates meals eaten and the friendships formed around food and eating. It is an anti-conventional diary of food and recipes and occasions.

At the heart of this book lies the sheer joy and consolation in the transient, ephemeral nature of coming together to enjoy a meal.
© Ruth MacPherson (artist & curator), 2020

Drawing upon ten years, from 1985 to 1995, Piel presents photographs and transcribed audio recordings from PLATESCAPES. For the exhibition, we connected the audio that corresponded to each image.

Buy Placescapes book

Platescapes flipbook:

ENCOUNTERS, Staley Wise Gallery, New York, USA

Donna Karan, International Centre of Photography at Bergdorf Goodman. New York, USA

A Quiet Obsession, Staley Wise Gallery, New York, USA

2018 Portraits of Artists. Staley Wise Gallery, New York. USA.
2012 The Nude Interpreted. Staley Wise Gallery, New York. USA.
2010 FOCUS MODE, Musée du Textile à Labastide Rouairoux, France with the photographer, Frank Horvat.
2007 Fashion Photography, The Museum of Fine Art, Boston, USA.
1994 Evolution / Revolution Nine Decades of Fashion Photography, Touring Exhibition – including Japan.
1989 Images of Desire, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, USA

1989 Portrayals of Recent Advertising Photography, International Museum of Photography. Rochester, New York, USA
1988 The Art of Persuasion – A History of Advertising Photography, International Center of Photography, New York. The USA.
1987 The Stars of Photography, The Cartier Foundation. Paris, France

1986 Shots of Style in Photography, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK

1986 Seven Decades of Style in Photography, BMW Galleries, New York, USA
1986 The Fashionable Image, The Mint Museum, North Carolina, USA
1985 Photographs of Models de Notre Temps, Cannon, Paris, France.
1985 Denis Piel, Fotogalleriet, Oslo, Norway.
1984 Summer Lights, Staley Wise Gallery, New York, USA.
1982 The Nude by Fashion Photographers, Staley Wise, New York, USA
1982 Men of Style, Staley Wise Gallery, New York, USA

Work has also appeared in exhibitions at Furman Gallery, Walter Reade Theater, Mark Morris: Portraits, Lincoln Center International Center of Photography, International Festival of Photography Houston. Platinum Plus, Sante Fe, New Mexico, Musei Capitolini in Rome” Valentino”. Thirty Years of Magic Images 1960-1990″, Fashion Institute of Technology, Goldie Paley Gallery, International Center of Photography, The Nikon House, Paris.