Christian Boltanski

French (Paris, France, 1944)


installation | dye destruction prints, light bulbs, wire, tape, tin, cardboard, and Plexiglas
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  • Monument

    Christian Boltanski, Monument, 1986; dye destruction prints, light bulbs, wire, tape, tin, cardboard, and Plexiglas, 88 in. x 40 1/4 in. (223.52 cm x 102.24 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Gift of Anne Marie MacDonald; © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

In Boltanski's Monument, a dissected class portrait from the artist's grammar school days becomes a macabre testament to the unstoppable passage of time and the impermanence of memory.

According to Boltanski, "Of all these children... I don't remember anything more than the faces on the photograph. It could be said that they disappeared from my memory, that this period of time was dead. Because now these children have become adults, about whom I now know nothing. It's for this reason that I felt the need to pay homage to these 'dead,' who in this image more or less resemble each other, like all cadavers. This is why I made the Monuments out of pieces of colored photographs, on which, however, the children's faces are in black and white, to show that time has passed, that they no longer live."

88 in. x 40 1/4 in. (223.52 cm x 102.24 cm)
Acquired 1988
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of Anne Marie MacDonald
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris


children, boys, girls, electrical wires, squares, stacks, light bulbs, memory, time

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