Born in 1944, Christian Boltanski has established an international reputation since the 1970s, as a leading artist at the forefront of the contemporary scene. His new installation, created especially for MONUMENTA 2010, is conceived as a powerful physical and psychological experience, an episode of spectacular emotion and sensations exploring the nature and meaning of human existence. Embracing the whole of the immense Nave of the Grand Palais, Boltanski creates a rich, intense commemorative space, in sound and vision. Personnes (literally both “people” and “nobodies”) is the evocative title of this social, religious and humanistic exploration of life, memory and the irreducible individuality of each and every human existence – together with the presence of death, the dehumanization of the body, chance and destiny.
Conceived as a work in sound and vision, Personnes takes up a new theme in Boltanski’s work, building on his earlier explorations of the limits of human existence and the vital dimension of memory : the question of fate, and the ineluctability of death. Personnes transforms the entire Nave of the Grand Palais through the creation of a coherent, intensely moving installation conceived as a gigantic animated tableau. Personnes is a one-off, ephemeral work. In accordance with the artist’s wishes, the components of the piece will all be recycled at the end of the exhibition.
The sound in this video is heartbeats, which Bolantski has been recording and collecting for decades.
There is 66-foot long wall of stacked oxidized biscuit tins that obstructs the view of the space and the mound of clothes.
There are 45 rectangled blocks of discarded clothes and a huge mound of clothes with a crane behind them.
The video is somewhat eerie and I’m sure that if one views the exhibit ‘in real life,’ there are images that can be imagined – such as the concentration camps. I don’t know what the artist envisioned.