Christian Boltanski - Animitas II

Hors Les Murs From 13.06.2019 to 17.11.2019

© Adagp, Paris, 2019 © Jeremie Souteyrat / Louis Vuitton

Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo
Omotesando Bldg 7F 5-7-5 Jingumae Shibuya-ku
Tokyo 150-0001
+81 3 3515 0855

As part of the Fondation Louis Vuitton's "Hors-les-murs" programme, the Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo opens a new exhibition dedicated to French artist Christian Boltanski. 

After presenting Animitas (2014) and Animitas (Blanc) (2017) at Espace Louis Vuitton München in 2017, the Fondation is honoured to show the two last chapters of the Animitas series. 

The two films, Animitas (La forêt des murmures) and Animitas (Mères mortes), are part of one of the artist’s most ambitious recent projects. Paying tribute to small roadside altars honouring the dead, Animitas is initially an outdoor installation within expanses of secluded landscapes which consists of 300 Japanese bells on slender stalks, echoing the configuration of the stars on the night of Boltanski’s birth: September 6, 1944. The first version of the installation was set in the most arid desert of Atacama (Chile), repeating the celestial archway as seen in the Southern Hemisphere on that date. The same configuration was later reinterpreted on three other sites: on the island of Teshima in Japan (La forêt des murmures, 2016), on Quebec’s Île d’Orléans (Blanc, 2017), and near the Dead Sea in Israel (Mères mortes, in the fall of 2017). Doomed to disappear with time, these installations blend Boltanski’s personal history with the stories of the places themselves, and thereby with those of thousands of souls. The video of each installation of Animitas, filmed in a single shot from sunrise to sunset, is presented in conjunction with a grass and flower bed that naturally evolves with the passage of time and people over the course of the exhibition, while the bells’ gentle tinkling evokes, according to the artist himself, “the music of the stars and the voices of the floating souls”.

Anchored in an existential relationship with the world, Boltanski’s oeuvre is a combination of Minimalism and Expressionism. His austere installations speak to the precarious nature of human existence, forgetfulness, loss, the fragility of memory and the passage of time, all in works of universal expression designed to be understood by everyone.


Christian Boltanski

Boltanski is a leading figure in contemporary art, considered as France’s most influential living artist. Since 1967, he has developed an artistic style that embraces writing, film, sculpture and photography. With a focus on remembrance and time, he works with biographical milestones and references, from both his own life and the lives of unknown or unidentified persons, and combines true and fictional tales in an attempt at “reconstitution”.

He follows the twisting paths of individual and collective destinies using personal and impersonal elements of great evocative power – photographs, newspapers, archives, clothes, designing installations with formal and emotional intensity. The theme of memory and its corollary, an obsession with avoiding forgetfulness and oblivion, is central to his vision, as is the ability to invent legends and myths. 

Christian Boltanski was born in Paris (France) in 1944. He lives and works in Malakoff, in the South‑West of Paris. In 2018, his solo exhibitions took place in Shanghai (China), Jerusalem (Israel), Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Tokyo (Japan), Edinburgh (UK), Valencia (Spain) and Monterrey (Mexico). He also participated in group exhibitions in international institutions such as The Jewish Museum (New York, USA), the Pinchuk Art Centre (Kyiv, Ukraine), The Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, Japan)… He took over the 2010 edition of Monumenta in Paris (France) and represented France at the Venice Biennale in 2011. He received, among other prestigious prizes, the Kunstpreis from Nord/LB, Braunschweig in 2001 and the Praemium Imperiale Award from the Japan Art Association in 2006.