Christian Boltanski, immense artist and beloved professor at the Beaux-Arts de Paris : " I used to tell my students : if someone tells you : You're stupid, you're ugly, but your last work is beautiful. Embrace it. The rest doesn't matter.
A friend to whom the School owes much. Tribute
Christian Boltanski (1944 - 14 July 2021).
Recognized as one of the leading contemporary French artists and on the international scene, Christian Boltanski was a professor at the Beaux-Arts de Paris during 23 years from 1986 to 2009 .
His workshop was defined as follows in the booklet of the Studies of the School : " The philosophy of this workshop, which is in no way a space of manufacture, nor of technique, is that of a seminar. It is a workshop open to exchange, dialogue, speech : a place for debate and discussion. "
He began to make paintings using all the resources of autobiography and in the 1970s he staged his double " CB " in a fictional approach to his childhood, telling stories that could relate to anyone, inventing relics and memories. The archaeological excavation of memory continues with reconstructions, inventories. Then appear the wall paintings, gigantic series of children's portraits arranged side by side, the model images that exploit the neutrality of the banal cliché. Then he eliminates his own character from his work and it is only after the 1980s that he confronts the memory of the Holocaust.
Then his impressive monuments are born, installations with a religious and funerary aspect where the dim light distilled by candles, or naked bulbs, letting out a cloud of electric wires, generates shadows and blurs the anonymous faces, icons neither profane nor sacred. Images of the dead, victims or oppressors confused in our doubt, accumulations of clothes that refer to absence: through history, sometimes personal, the artist stages a " museum of ourselves ".
In 1970, a first solo exhibition took place at the Museum of Modern Art of the city of Paris. He then exhibited regularly in France and abroad. Consecrated Praemum imperiale in Japan in 2006, his last solo exhibition took place in 2020 at the Centre Pompidou " Faire son temps ".