Christian Boltanski is a French artist, photographer and sculptor who has worked in many media and styles.
Made from the ephemeral junk, clutter and scraps of life, here are some examples of his shadow installations. Shadow rooms, theatres of memories and fragile evidence of humanity.
What drives me as an artist is that I think everyone is unique, yet everyone disappears so quickly. I made a large work called The Reserve of Dead Swiss (1990) and all the people in photographs in the work are dead. We hate to see the dead, yet we love them, we appreciate them. Human. That’s all we can say. Everyone is unique and important. But I like something Napoleon said when he saw many of his dead soldiers on a battlefield: ‘Oh, no problem – one night of love in Paris and you can replace everybody.’I’m always a beginner, and the most important thing is always the next piece. We artists never know if we can do it again. You have done something – and most of the time I hate what I have done a few years ago – and you don’t know if you can do something now. The good artists are usually the very young or the very old. The ones who are very young are so stupid that they have no fear. And when they are very old they aren’t afraid any more. In the meantime, you are always, always, afraid. Christian Botanski