Oscar Tuazon, artist, and Dorothée Perret, editor
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL TRESE
Like most good photographers, Daniel Trese is a chronic wanderer. Troll the internet for instances of his work for magazines like Pin-Up and Butt, and you’ll find visual essays — often accompanied by musings he wrote himself — that seem like off-the-cuff missives from the road. “Oh, hi, I was just traveling from Paris to the Italian countryside and I managed to shoot these beautiful images for you,” is what a typical contribution from the Los Angeles–based photog seems to say. So we were pleased when Trese wrote to us earlier this winter with pictures he’d taken during a recent visit to the new Paris home of his friends, the art-world power couple Dorothée Perret — formerly of Purple and current editor of Paris, LA — and Oscar Tuazon, a onetime Seattleite who makes sculptural art in raw concrete and wood, and who’s about to become known as one of the stars of this year’s upcoming Whitney Biennial. The couple and their two girls had recently relocated after a fire burned down their Montmartre duplex, and Tuazon had built bits of the new house from pieces of the old. Trese, who was in Paris during Fashion Week photographing bloggers Tavi Gevinson and Diane Pernet for a Dutch magazine called Girls Like Us, shot both houses and sent us the notes he’d jotted down during his day with the family:
“Montmartre reminds me of Brooklyn. There is something about the height of the buildings or the exchanges with strangers. The energy of the city seems to go down a bit here, like it does from Midtown to Greenpoint.
I am going to visit with my friend Dorothée Perret at her one-bedroom apartment in the 18th arrondissement where she lives with her husband, artist Oscar Tuazon, their two young girls, and their cat Lucifer.
In the center of their main room is a remarkable table that Oscar made for Dorothée’s birthday. It is covered with snacks and computers and invitations to fashion shows and history books. Oscar is on the phone quietly discussing details pertaining to an upcoming show, Dorothée is helping her eldest daughter with her homework, and Lucifer keeps meowing to be let out, and in, and out again.
Months earlier, Dorothée had been on holiday with her family just outside of Seattle. One morning after a night of Washington stars and seeing the Melvins play, she received a call from her management company in Paris saying that her home was on fire. No one could give her specific details over the phone. It would be impossible to know the state of things until she returned home some weeks later. When I spoke with her around that time, I was surprised by how calm she was. We talked about the landscape where she was staying, her visit to the shore, and how happy her family was in Washington. It was only at the end of our conversation that she mentioned the fire. She explained to me that there is a firefighter who lived beneath them with his teenage son who is a pyromaniac. The two had a fight. Afterwards, the teenager started a fire in the apartment below hers and left the place to burn. “You know, it’s fine. Whatever is fine. I am not so attached to material things,” she said. All she cared about was making sure that she could still live in the same neighborhood so the girls could continue at their school.
Upon the family’s return to Paris, they were able to find a small one-bedroom in the same school district. Everything that survived the fire had to be removed, including a very special bed that Oscar built to mark their daughter Tacoma’s birth that has since become part of the Saatchi Collection. The new place is notably smaller than the one that burned, and there wasn’t enough room for everything. Oscar broke down what old furniture he could, including an heirloom commode haute and cheval mirroire and made new fixtures for their different life. A beautifully transformed antique oak pharmacy cabinet once used in a school has become the family’s kitchen cupboard.”