In his powerful series, Requiem for Pianos, French artist Romain Thiery beautifully explores the lonely lives of forgotten pianos. Pairing two of Theiry’s artistic passions—photography and piano-playing—this touching project presents the instruments through a personal and poignant lens.
Requiem for Pianos is set in several abandoned buildings across Europe. Once beautiful castles and stately homes, these sites have since been deserted, leaving behind nothing but crumbling walls, cracked windows, and, as Thiery has discovered, hoards of discarded pianos. “Sometimes with some of its keys missing, sometimes completely dismantled but always sitting imposingly,” each old piano rests quietly among the ruins, waiting patiently to be found.
Thiery was inspired to shoot this series by his own experiences as a dedicated pianist. “Tirelessly practicing Chopin on my grand piano in my house, I am also a photographer who captures pictures of the instrument lying there and further intensifying the mystery surrounding each place,” he tells My Modern Met. “Through my images, the musical notes of these abandoned pianos reason again in these buildings in ruins, giving free reign to our imagination.”
So much more than a musical instrument, each piano photographed by Thiery offers viewers an intimate glimpse into a little-known and long-since-forgotten history.