Gainsbourg. Reverb.


October 2022, Studio Boissiere

Photography: Roger Kasparian, Nelta Kasparian
Curation: Nelta Kasparian

I’ve put together an exhibition which attempts a conversation between my grandfathers 1964 photos of Serge Gainsbourg and my favourite topic of all times, Notting Hill Carnival.

Inspired by Edouard Glissant I’m intrigued by seemingly unrelated elements coming together and creating something new and unexpected. this exhibition does just that.

It all starts with my grandfather’s photography archive. In October 1964, he spent an afternoon with Serge Gainsbourg. At the time, Gainsbourg wasn’t so popular. He was falling behind the younger, rock & roll scene yet his ambition was to be the ultimate, commercially successful, pop artist.

As I started looking into it, I was surprised at how complex and non linear his career had been. It’s only much later in his life that he finally reached the success he aspired to.

It was his 1980 reggae album ‘Aux armes et cætera’ that propelled him to the top of the charts. He was 52 and had been recording music since 1958. This ignited a million questions in my head.


What is it about the combination of Gainsbourg’s poetry and Reggae music that resonated so loud with the French public? Is it pure and simple cultural appropriation? Can music transcend identity? Perhaps particular sounds carry mystical vibrations…