6 septembres

  • 2005
  • Christian Boltanski
  • 3 videos projections, 3 buzzers, sound
  • Variable dimensions
With a simple movement, the viewer can freeze the scrolling images before being swept along again with the flow. Images of unknown individuals, of France and the Vietnam War, Pompidou, Françoise Sagan and a Jonny Halliday concert flash by, accompanied by a soundtrack that has been sped up so much it cannot be discerned, rushing through time and history and turning it all into an anonymous whole. Unlike other works that conjure up intimate, individual memories, 6 septembres evokes a collective history condensed into a single day, in which everyone can look back to a special event, emotion or moment in their life. This constant flow of images can be seen in the excesses of contemporary media. The extremely fast pace flattens out events, whether dramatic or incidental, and makes it impossible to remember them.

© Adagp, Paris, 2014. Photographie © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage © Adagp, Paris, 2014. Photographie © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage


Christian Boltanski

Life and death, memory and forgetting are at the heart of his practice. Initially taking the form of reconstituted objects and grotesque sketches featuring himself, Boltanski began to record ordinary lives in 1969 – his own and those of anonymous people – using family photographs.

Taking on the fictional role of ethnographer, he created fake biographies that connect individual and collective experiences. DIY, cut-outs, stacked cardboard or rusty metal boxes, piles of clothes, shadow and light and projected images are among the resources he drew on to make his emotive installations, some temporary. The allusion to historical tragedies is transcended by a wider consideration of the fragility of human life. In 1972 Boltanski took part in Harald Szeemann’s legendary Documenta 5 exhibition, which developed the idea of individual mythology. Boltanski represented France at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

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