Tribute to the contemporary artist Christian Boltanski

Sculptor, filmmaker, writer, photographer … Christian Boltanski passed away this Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at the age of 76.


The visual artist Christian Boltanski died yesterday at the age of 76. He is recognized as one of the main French contemporary artists.


Christian Boltanski was born on September 6, 1944, in Paris. The artist was known for his life-size installations, and his body of work, which ranged from sculptures to the design of films. Films, in which Boltanski has often put his brother in the spotlight. We find Jean-Elie in l’Homme qui tousse in 1969, or l’Homme qui lèche the same year.


PARIS, FRANCE – MAY 06: Artist Christian Boltanski poses in front of a Work of Max Ernst “The Great Forest” during the “Prehistoire, une enigme moderne” : Exhibition at Centre Pompidou on May 06, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)


The artist was also a writer. His first book, Recherche et présentation de tout ce qui reste de mon enfance, was also published in 1969. Through this work, Boltanski testifies to a quest doomed to failure. This feeling is echoed in Boltanski’s Ten Photographic Portraits, a collection of images of young children whose identities are unknown, arranged according to their apparent age.


The following year, the artist exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, and then followed up with a series of exhibitions, such as at the Grand Palais in 1972 with Douze ans d’art contemporain en France.


Also in 1972, Christian Boltanski will present a work that will later become one of his trademarks : l’Album des photographies de la famille D, 1944-1954. We find family archives over a period of ten years, given by his friend Michel Durand-Dessert. A way to relive a childhood and memories that he did not have.




For half a century, the artist has presented numerous exhibitions around the world, such as in Tasmania, Patagonia or in the Chilean desert.



What we will remember about Christian Boltanski is his ability to take over spaces. Thanks to everyday and perfectly ordinary objects, he has succeeded in composing extraordinary structures. As for example with piles of clothes or rusty cans.





Featured photo : © Didier Plowy 2010 / Didier Plowy

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