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Christian Boltanski

written by Didier Semin

Phaidon Press | ISBN 9780714836584

Paperback – 160 pages

Part of the Contemporary Artists series.


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Christian Boltanski came to prominence in the 1980s with major exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris in 1984 and the Whitechapel Gallery, London in 1990. This text explores his art, arguing that it hovers between the trauma of the extermination camp depot and the redemption of a memorial shrine. Boltanski can be described as an alchemist, philosopher, potential suicide, clown or Rasputin. His work has ranged from the creation of an "ironic museum of the self" to sensitive portrayals of ordinary people. His installations are made up of collections of everyday objects such as clothing or shoes; and photographs - such as passport photographs, school portraits and family albums. They memorialize ordinary people - the unknown children killed in the Holocaust, the people of a Swiss canton, or the employees of a Halifax carpet factory. Recently he worked on a production of Schubert's Winter Reisse at the Lyric Theatre, London, and will continue to work on theatrical and operatic productions. The book is part of a series of studies of important artists of the late 20th century. Each title offers a comprehensive survey of the artist's work, providing analyses and multiple perspectives on contemporary art and its inspiration.

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