A Small Man in a Big World


A Small Man in a Big World confronts humanity with the invariable geometry of the world

Gérard Rancinan forsakes the Baroque for the uncluttered. He plays with geometrical lines, mapping out the parameters of the human. This need to return to the elementary is associated with the mythology of the dance of the fool and with Sisyphus. Minimalism emerges as a possible antidote to the hubbub of the world. And as a hommage to the world’s Last Man …

The essayist, Caroline Gaudriault, imagines Man as a work in progress, Man repaired, a miniscule poet overwhelmed by events, an infallible conquer untramelled by memory. Confronting her thought with that of Francis Fukuyama, the theorist of the End of History, she speaks of a Man emerging after history, a New Man …

The Exhibition

Each new series is a risk for Rancinan, who does not hesitate, in his all-or-nothing vision of the world, to make a break with his preceding work. This time he has chosen to use the studio in a more intimate way, using contemporary music as a soundtrack and working with just one dancer. Applying a graphic, minimalist, pure graphic approach, he plays on contrast, producing an aesthetic that veers towards the black and white, without entirely eschewing other colours. Thanks to its contemporary and monumental aspects, however, the work is nevertheless very much identifiable as his own. Rancinan applies symbolism to describe Man’s attitudes to the world by playing with geometrical forms. He pushes the limits, seeks out the essential line of demarcation between Man and his world, the precarious equilibrium of the tension between them, sometimes in a harmonious relationship, sometimes in a destabilising one. It is always a question of finding the right axis, a metaphor for the meaning people give their lives.


Caroline Gaudriault has examined the place of Man in contemporary society and commented on the contradictions inherent in the temptation to plunge head first into a promising modernity. Irreverent and humorous, she nevertheless goes to the heart of the matter, at the risk of occasionally setting an alarmist tone.
The lucide tone A Small Man in a Big World provides a place for a poetic perspective on human nature. As if, in an era in which questions on human identity are being posed, she wanted to evoke the human in all its beauty and fragility. It is not a question of threat, because humanity is already in a new époque. Playing with dystopian ideas, she imagines what the New Man might be like.
This free form of writing, was born of a conversation with the theorist of “ the end of History,” political scientist and philosopher, Francis Fukuyama. Together, they pose the questions of finitude and decadence.
The French, English, and Chinese versions of the book thus consist of two parts, with the first in a form of conversation between Caroline Gaudriault and philosopher Francis Fukuyama, and the second in form of poems by Caroline Gaudriault.


A Small Man in a Big World. Part I
“A Conversation with Francis Fukuyama”


Caroline Gaudriault: You talk about a disillusioned man, an individual who has experienced history and who has now realized that it is vain to struggle, that one can die in vain for an idea, and who is therefore disillusioned. (...)
Francis Fukuyama: The individual that you speak of is Nietzsche’s Last Man. “Last Man” in the sense that he’s been exhausted by history. All the struggles for justice and for a better life that have characterized most of human history have been settled, and this person now lives in a rich, peaceful, secure society and therefore doesn’t have any aspirations beyond more of the same: more wealth, more security and the like. For example, many of my students, who grew up in such a society, want to go to Africa or to another part of the world where history hasn’t ended, where there’s still injustice and poverty, because they want to struggle over something. Today, a lot of them are going to Syria or to the Middle East or other places where there are still great issues that need to be resolved. And I think this is a side of human beings that, again, is an important one: it’s the source of all political greatness but it’s also the source of war and conflict and the like. But we should also hope that people don’t, in a sense, want to drag us back into that world because that was also the world of struggle and war and conflict over the centuries. (....)

A Small Man in a Big World. Part II: Dystopia


Intimate conversation

The Man – Did you order me to love?
His Brain – No!
His Brain – Listen, you’re too impulsive. Always following your emotions. A little reason ...
The Man – But to love... it’s the only thing a little human that I have left.
His Brain – It serves no purpose. You’re wasting your time and mine. It takes up too much of my energy, which would be more usefully applied elsewhere. Love, love ... Look at you with your shaking legs, your blushing cheeks; listen to you
stuttering like a complete novice. I can no longer control you. Can’t you see?
It’s not the kind of thing you’d expect from a strong man who still has many missions to accomplish.
The Man – (shamefaced) ...
His Brain – (whispering) Just between you and me, sex is a little archaic.
The Man – Yeah, right, that’s easy to say. Can’t you think about me for once? I find it agrea...
His Brain – What? No! You’re not going to come over all sentimental with me! Agreeable! That’s all we need!
The Man – OK, OK, calm down. I can’t have you getting angry, it wouldn’t be too much fun for me. It gives me convulsions.
But tell me what I’m for, then.
His Brain – What do you think? Not much! And, you know, it’ll soon be my turn, a brain more powerful than me will come along, and then you’ll have even less choice than you do now.

The Man goes home, his head stooped. He walks slowly, wistfully. He takes advantage of the fact that his brain is involved with its thoughts to smell a flower, letting its odor invade his lungs. He closes his eyes. "At least I still have that!

And Man in All of That?

The transplanted Man.
The implanted Man.
The modified Man.

The repaired Man.

The augmented Man.
The cryptogenetic Man.
The monitored Man.
The grafted Man.
The programmed Man.
The transfigured Man.
The robotized Man.

The manufactured Man.


People weren’t expecting that:

The more they develop,

The smaller they become.

It’s funny how they tricked themselves!


Sinan Mansions, Shanghai, China - 2014


Base sous-marine de Bordeaux, France - 2016


Ancienne Patinoire Royale, Brussel, Belgium - 2014

In press media

“C’est le poids des mots et le choc des photos. Mais il n’y a pas de voyeurisme ou de complaintes emphatiques. Juste des appels lancés à la poésie, à la réflexion, sur ce monde nouveau qui nous habite parfois jusqu’à l’écrasement. Ensemble, ils le décortiquent, ils le cisèlent au scalpel, et la chimère se livre. Et c’est aussi fascinant qu’effrayant.”

PNG - 28.9 kb Journal « CAUSEUR » – 20 Avril 2014


PNG - 356 kb FACE B - Automne 2014 -« DE L’AVENIR DE L’HOMME »


- Gang Bank

- Family TV

- Man Repaired 1

- Man Repaired 2

- Man Repaired 3

- Watch Me

- Too Much Blabla

- Don’t Erase my Memory

- News

- I Don’t Believe in God anymore

- Be Happy

- Save Me

- NO !

- Art Dealer

- Am I Real

- God of Flies

- The Moral

- Are We Obsolete

- Transparency

- Gate Of Happiness

- Too Much Noise

- Curious

- The Labyrinthe

- The seven worlds

- The Horizon

- Black Earth and The Fool

- Run To The Edge

- The Runner

- Tribute to Genesis

- The Dance of The Fool

- Explorer

- In The Frame

- Man In Motion #31


BOOK - A small Man in a big world

• FORMAT : 13,6 x 21 cm - 5,3 x 8,2 in
• 128 pages

" Thus, the adventure of the Last Man will initiate the great project of the New Man...What if, in his intellectual wanderings, this man, who feels increasingly miniscule and overwhelmed by the vastness of a world that he has developed were to pose the fatal question of his own identity.

From a conversation with Francis Fukuyama, the American thinker of The End of History, to a collection of free thoughts in the form of dystopia, Caroline Gaudriault confronts Man with his world and his poetic nature."

The authors

Gérard Rancinan

Frenchman Gérard Rancinan is an internationally recognized artist and photographer. His photographic works are included in great contemporary art collections and displayed in prestigious museums the world over. A wakeful witness of the metamorphoses undergone by humanity, Rancinan observes the world and delivers an uncompromising critique of the humours of the “Modern”.
Through his protean photography, in which form and content are always linked, Rancinan seeks to translate the questions attached to the deviances and contradictions of society. He never gives absolution, and, in spite of the occasional cruelty of his gaze, he never fails to show everything.
“Free thinker” is assuredly the only title to which he lays claim and to which he dedicates his life and work.
He is known not only for the relevance of his oeuvre, but also for the monumental size of his photographic works.
Rancinan is an Officier des Arts et Lettres and has won, among other things, six World Press awards.

His work has been featured in exhibitions at, among other places, the National Portrait Gallery in London; the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco; the Shanghai Himalayas Museum; the Louvre Lens, France; the Fondation Pinault de Dinard, France; the Oscar Niemayer Museum, Curitiba, Brazil; the Muséé des Arts et Métiers, Paris; the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Bratislava; and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.


Caroline Gaudriault

Author, designer of the calligraphic installation

Born in Paris, Caroline Gaudriault is the author of around a dozen books translated into English, and even Chinese. Long an independent journalist, she has worked with a series of international magazines. Her reportages have taken her around the world, where she has been able to observe human beings confronted by their modernity and to analyze its consequences.

She has conducted wide-ranging interviews with the leading thinkers of the day, interviews that have helped her develop her thought and which inform her detailed analyses of our humanity. Thus, the major figures of modern thought are happy to participate in her personal quest. The American political scientist and philosopher Francis Fukuyama was a major contributor to her most recent book.

She exhibits her texts in calligraphic installations, gradually adding the languages of the countries in which the host museums are located.


A Small Man in a Big World, Editions Paradox and Guangxi Normal University Press Group, 2014, with Francis Fukuyama

The Trilogy of the Moderns

Metamorphoses, Part 1, Editions Paradox, 2012
Hypotheses, Part 2, Editions Paradox, 2011
Wonderful World, Part 3, Editions Biro, 2009

The Photographer, Edition de la Martinière and Abrams, 2008, by Caroline Gaudriault and Gérard Rancinan

Urban Jungle, Edition de la Martinière, 2000, by Gérard Rancinan, with a preface by Caroline Gaudriault



2000 to 2016

Base sous-marine, Bordeaux, France, 2016
Exhibition “ Scarcity of Miracle”

Urban Spree, Berlin, Germany, 2016
Exhibition “The Destiny of Men” Parts I & II

Montresso Art Foundation, Jardin Rouge, Marrakech, Morocco, 2016
Exhibition “Rancinan in Morocco” – inaugural exhibition for the museum of the Montresso Art Foundation

Kasteel van Gaasbeek, Brussels, Belgium, 2016
Collective Exhibition “Divine Decadence”, an exhibition in collaboration with Mechelen-based theatre group Abattoir Fermé, inspired by the book A Rebours by Joris-Karl Huysmans

Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, Firenze, Italy, 2016
Exhibition “The Destiny of Men”, in collaboration with the author Caroline Gaudriault

Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, Lille, France, from september 2015 to january 2016
Collective Exhibition - « Joie de Vivre »
Curator: Bruno Girveau

National Portrait Gallery, London, UK, 2015
Permanent Collection - « Barry McGuigan »
Curator : Paul Ardenne

Couvent des Cordeliers, Paris, France, happening from june 11 to june 14, 2015
Solo exhibition – « The Destiny of Men »
Curator : Paul Ardenne

Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, Monaco, april – june 2015-09-15
Solo exhibition – « Another Day on Earth »

Museum of Huelva, Spain, 2015
« The Trilogy of the Moderns »

Himalayas Art Contemporary Museum, Shanghai, China, sept-nov 2014
Solo exhibition - « The Trilogy of the Moderns »
50th anniversary for diplomatic relations betwwen France and China

Sinan Mansions, Shanghai, China, sept-nov 2014
Solo exhibition - « A Small Man in a Big World »

The Louvre Lens Museum, Lens, France, 2013 - 2018
« The liberty unveiled»

Quai d’Orsay, Ministery of Foreign affairs, Paris, France, 2013 - 2015
« Batman Family Boys»

Pinault Foundation and the city of Dinard, France, june - sept 2014
Collective exhibition with Jeff Koons, Andres Serrano, Subodh Gupta, Joel-Peter Witkin
Presentation of « the big supper »
Curator : Jean-Jacques Aillagon

Museo Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba, Brazil, june 2014
Collective exhibition - « A Wonderful World ».

Art Contemporary Museum (MAC) of Lyon, France, feb-april 2014
Collective exhibition - « Moto Poétique ».
Curator : Paul Ardenne

Arts et Métiers Museum, Paris, France, oct - nov 2013
Solo exhibition - « The feast of Barbarians »

Danubiana Contemporary Art Museum of Bratislava, Slovakia, may– sept 2013
Solo exhibition - « The Trilogy of the Moderns »
Curator : Vincent Polakovic

Contemporary Art Museum Les Abattoirs of Toulouse, France, sept - oct 2012
Printemps de Septembre 2012 « L’Histoire est à moi ! »
Curator: Paul Ardenne
Collective exhibition with Anselm Kiefer, Pierre&Gilles, Mounir Fatmi

Londonewcastle Project Space, Shoreditch, London, Great Britain, june 2012
« Wonderful World »

Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy, may 2012
Solo exhibition - « The Trilogy of the Moderns »
Curator : Claudio De Albertis

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, La Haye, Holland, 2011
Reflex Miniature Museum – exposition collective avec Damien Hirst- George Baselitz – Yayoi Kusama- Roy Lichtenstein -

Chapelle Saint-Sauveur, Paris/Issy les Moulineaux, France, 2011
Solo exhibition - « Hypothèses »

The Louvre bookstore Paris, France, 2010
« Metamorphosis »

Galerie Rudolfinum, Musée des Arts Décoratifs of Praha, Czech Republic 2010
Exposition collective en compagnie de Damien Hirst, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman
« Decadence Now »

Barbizon, France, 2010
Collectiv exhibition with Combas, Erro, Klasen, Monory
« 150 artists for the 150 years of the Angelus of Millet»

Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France, nov-dec 2009
Solo exhibition - « Métamorphosis »
Curator : Marc-Olivier Wahler

Palazzio delle Esposizioni, Roma, Italy, may - july 2009
Exposition personnelle - « Le Photographe »

Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2008
Solo exhibition - « The Photographer »

Triennale Bovisa, Milano, Italy, july - sept 2008
Solo exhibition - « La Trilogie du Sacré Sauvage »

Barcelona Art Contemporary Museum (MACBA), Spain, 2007
Collectiv exhibition

Espace Pierre Cardin Paris, France, 2000
Solo exhibition - « Urban Jungle »


Gérard Rancinan and Caroline Gaudriault
are represented worldwide by :

Fine Art Cube

33 (0)6 22 52 52 92