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Christian Boltanski

Reliquary

Artist

Christian Boltanski
Born in Paris in 1944

Title

Reliquary

Date

1990

Materials

Metal boxes, wire mesh, electric lamps, pieces of fabric, photographs

Dimensions

218.4 x 134.6 x 66 cm

Credits

Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1991.1a-e

Collection

International Contemporary Art

The protean art of Boltanski, which encompasses installation, film, photography and sculpture, is haunted by the notions of memory and death. Boltanski appropriates everyday objects, such as articles of clothing and photographs, and uses them to evoke either the presence or absence of individuals. Though he points out that his work is not about, but after, the Holocaust, Christian Boltanski’s practice is marked by the history and genocide of the Jews. But the lack of direct references gives it an existential dimension: the faded photographs of children on this Reliquary belong to everyone and no one they are the kind of pictures found buried in the drawers of old furniture, the family souvenirs familiar to all. Boltanski’s fictional stagings interfuse the secrets of individual memory and the torments of the collective unconscious.

© Christian Boltanski / SOCAN (2020)

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