Christian Boltanski’s mother faked a divorce to hide his Jewish father during the war. Traumatized by the Holocaust, his parents experienced separation anxiety and fostered unorthodox family customs. Unable to attend to school, he used art for psychoanalysis and self-healing.
For Boltanski, the Holocaust shattered early 20th century hopes of improving society through culture and science. It illustrated humanity’s potential to be murderous and power hungry; even nice people were Nazis.
Boltanski says his real work happens when he is passive, but it is hard not to stay busy.
Boltanski says artists only need one idea. His revelations came upon leaving childhood, when his parents died, and upon entering old age.
Boltanski created an archive of his childhood. He discusses his desire to preserve everything from his life—including filming his studio—in an effort to circumvent oblivion and death. He reflects on aging and on the incomprehensible aspect of art.
Boltanski discusses the world views as they relate to birth, identity, and death.
Credits: Critical Thinkers - Christian Boltanski
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One of the most important artists working today, the French Christian Boltanksi had remarkable works at Documenta de Kassel, the Venice Biennale and the Grand Palais in Paris, among others. In his studio in Malakoff, he talks about his trajectory, his creative process, the role of memory in his works and the trauma of the Holocaust. Boltanski also shares his vision about what it is to have an idea in art, tells how he sold the rights to have his studio monitored by cameras 24 hours a day and explains some of the main themes of his work.
Length: 29 minutes
Copyright date: ©2017
Prices include public performance rights.
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