Deux crocos, 1985
Born in 1928 in Paris, Gilles Aillaud abandoned a career in philosophy for painting and became part of the Nouvelle Figuration movement. In the 70s, he took animals in captivity as his sole subject matter, painted in cold colours and framed with precision. Enclosures, bars, the pale sensuality of fur; an artificial version of nature, exhibited (with no escape) under neon lights. Aillaud’s zoos are symptomatic of the crisis in artistic representation and are a reflection of ourselves. They have made him the painter of prisons, deportations, and urbanity laid bare – frugal apartments, limited social mobility, and alienating security. In 2015, the Museum of Fine Art in Rennes held a major solo exhibition of his oeuvre. His paintings can also be found in the collections of the Pompidou Centre and the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the MAC/VAL in Vitry-sur Seine and the FRACs in Brittany and Auvergne.