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Christian Boltanski Les Archives Du Coeur

Christian Boltanski: Les Archives Du Coeur 31/07/2016 - 25/09/2016

Les Archives du Coeur (The Heart Archive) invites visitors to contribute a recording of their heartbeat to the artist’s archive, within a specially designed booth. The resulting audio file is then added to Boltanski’s ongoing collection, which is housed on the uninhabited Japanese island of Teshima.

Boltanski is fascinated by the singularity of human experiences and the ephemerality of human life.

“I am interested in what I call ‘little memory’, an emotional memory, an everyday knowledge, the contrary of the Memory with a capital M that is preserved in history books”, he says. “this little memory, which for me is what makes us unique, is extremely fragile, and it disappears with death. The loss of identity, this equalisation in forgetting, is very difficult to accept.”


Born in Paris, France, in 1944. His mother of Corsican origin and a Catholic, was a writer; his father, a Ukrainian Jew from Odessa, was a physician. Boltanski’s childhood was marked by the postwar era and the Holocaust. At age 12 he left school and started to paint and that was when he decided to be an artist.

Death, life and identity are recurrent themes in his work, marked by an intention to file and remember that goes beyond what is explicitly present. Boltanski resorts to fragile materials (old photographs, used clothing, personal and used daily items, newspaper clippings, letters etc.) as evidence of the brevity of life.

“What I try to do with my work is to ask questions, talk about philosophical things, not through stories with words, but stories through visual images. I talk about actually very simple things, common to all. I don’t talk about complicated things. What I’m trying to do is to remind people to forget that it’s art and think about it as life.”