Everyone and No One

Christian Boltanski

Christian Boltanski’s deeply moving work centers around installations of lonely, dislocated objects—anything from photographs he has found in newspaper obituaries (as in The Reserve of the Dead Swiss, 1990) to discarded or hand-me-down clothes (Reserve, 1990). He arranges these ephemera in shrine-like structures—sometimes framed like altarpieces, sometimes bedecked with fairy lights—which in their grand size and magnitude evoke an almost sacred sense of longing, nostalgia and memory. Boltanski is the latest artist to create work for Monumenta, a biannual exhibition that takes place in the enormous nave of Paris’s Grand Palais. The new work, Personnes (meaning both "People" and "No one"), picks up on the artist’s fascination with destiny and mortality on an appropriately impressive scale.

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