© Tous droits réservés. Courtesy de l'artiste et de Marian Goodman
Christian Boltanski

© Tous droits réservés. Courtesy de l'artiste et de Marian Goodman

Christian Boltanski

Born in 1944, in Paris (France)

Lives an works in Malakoff (France)

With the understatement of minimalist art and the powerful emotions of expressionism, Christian Boltanski’s work is rooted in an existential and essential relationship with the world, with which everyone can identify. 

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.

Selected Bibliography

Grenier, Catherine. Christian Boltanski. Paris : Flammarion : CNP : Institut français, 2011. 

Boltanski, Christian ; Grenier, Catherine. La vie possible de Christian Boltanski. Paris : Seuil, 2010. (Fiction & Cie). 

Obrist, Hans Ulrich. Christian Boltanski : entendre les chiens. Köln : W. König, 2005. 

Martin, Jean Hubert ; Comerlati, Doriana ; Davis, Jim... [et al.]. Christian Boltanski : 6 septembres : [mostra, Milano, Padiglione d'arte contemporanea, 18 marzo-12 guigno 2005]. Milano : Charta, 2005. 

Boltanski, Christian ; Pagé, Suzanne ; Parent, Béatrice... [et al.]. Christian Boltanski : dernières années : [exposition, Paris, Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris, 15 mai-4 octobre 1998]. Paris : Paris-Musées, 1998.

***   All materials available at the Documentation Centre of the Fondation  ***