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Theatre d'ombres

Christian Boltanski

Theatre d’ombre (Shadow Theatre) is a collection of metal figures cut with scissors like little puppets dancing to the breath of the night; dancing shadows rather disquieting joyful, memory games and delicious fears of children steeped in mysticism. The artist hopes that each visitor will recognise something of himself, of his night terrors domesticated by the theatrical projection, this death coming to who already lives and with whom he must live in harmony.

This "shadow theatre" in its lightness and gravity, is close to the macabre dance, a vibrant Christian tradition in Europe of the Middle Ages, as well as Mexican creations for the Day of the Dead celebration. These are also found in the Golem myth of Jewish tradition. A joyful work that stops for a moment where the night wins and we must conjure fears.

Biography
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.”