French artist Christian Boltanski launched his new website project Storage Memory on 20th January 2012. Through this project Boltanski aims to reach 2000 to 3000 people via a personal internet contact with his audience. Utilising the medium of the internet he will communicate with anybody, wherever they may be in the world, who wants to participate. For an annual subscription cost of 120 Euros he will send ten one-minute original films to all website subscribers. At the end of the subscription, the buyer will receive a digital certificate of ownership attesting to the authenticity for the complete set of films received by e-mail. The films are without sound and deliberately abstract to create a place of meditation or reverence. With the passage of time, this will create a kind of self-portrait depicting his experiences and emotions, which don’t clearly refer to the artist’s life but leave the spectator to their own interpretations. Many of Boltanski’s pieces in recent years have been probing the idea of death and Storage Memory is a work in progress of indeterminate duration which will continue during his lifetime.
The Storage Memory project recalls a contract to pay for a work by instalments, with David Walsh, a Tasmanian collector for his Museum of Old and New Art, which stipulates that four cameras continuously film the artist’s studio and broadcast live to Tasmania until Boltanski’s death. Those two projects are part of Boltanski’s continuing biographical work. In these projects the artist changes the relationship between the artist and collector / spectator: the individual doesn’t have to go to a specific place to see the artwork – the artwork comes to the individual.
A common denominator in Boltanski’s work is memory – spanning childhood and personal memories, memorials and the history of humanity. For his installation Personnes at Monumenta 2010 in the Grand Palais, Paris, the artist made an installation with 30 tons of clothes in memory of all the people who used to wear them, evoking the memory of their disappearance. ‘Personnes’ means both ‘people’ and ‘nobodies’ . The installation was supported by a deafening soundtrack of human heart beats recorded for the artist’s Archives du Coeur project.
During the 2011 Venice Art Biennale, Boltanski used the Internet for his installation boltanski : chance. The exhibition displayed photographic images with the faces of hundreds of newborn babies on a moving reel entitled la roue de la chance (Wheel of Fortune). The French meaning of the word chance suggests luck or fortune. ‘be new’ was an interactive game and website with a screen projecting three partial images from both infant and adult faces. If a viewer presses a button at the exact moment when a complete composite face is displayed they receive a surprise gift from by the artist.
Christian Boltanski. Selected Biography: Born in 1944, Paris. Lives and works in Malakoff, France. Christian Boltanski has participated in Documenta V, 1972, VI, 1977, and VIII,1987. He has had major exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris,1984; the museum of contemporary art in Chicago and Los Angeles, 1988, and the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1990. Awards include the ‘Créateurs sans frontières’ award for visual arts by Cultures France (ex AFAA), 2007; the Praemium Imperiale Award by Japan Art Association, 2007; the Kaiser Ring, Goslar, 2001; and the Kunstpreis, given by Nord/LB, Braunschweig, Germany, 2001.
Images: Christian Boltanski. Storage Memory
Christian Boltanski. Personnes, 2011 © Collection Grand Palais
Christian Boltanski. Chance, l’installation de Christian Boltanski au pavillon français de la 54th Venice Biennale, 2011
Further information on Storage Memory: http://www.christian-boltanski.com/`
Further information on Personnes: http://archive.monumenta.com/2010/english/frontpage.html
Further information on Chance: http://www.boltanski-chance.com/index.html