6. Part Five - Textiles · 6.c. Project 3: Clouds and pillars

Research Point – Christian Boltanski: Personnes

Find out about Christian Boltanski’s 2010 installation Personnes, at the Grand Palais, Paris. Start by analysing it using the terms set out at the start of Project 3. 

 

ART or DESIGN

TEMPORARY or PERMANENT

LARGE SCALE or SMALL SCALE

TRANSFORMING and/or DEFINING and/or FORMING

IMMERSIVE and/or DISTANT

PATTERN and/or COLOUR and/or REPETITION and/or SHAPE

 

Read what critics had to say about this work, for example Laura Cumming in the Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/jan/17/christian-boltanski-personnnesparis-review [accessed 03/03/14]

  • You’ll see that, in addition to the garments, the noise of heartbeats permeates the exhibition. Why do you think this might be?

I think the heartbeat is there to deepen the idea of life and death. The constant heartbeat in contrast to the idea of looking at the belongings of the dead is a reminder that the items belonged to people that once had their own heartbeat, who were once alive. The sound of a heart beat can also manipulate someone’s mental/emotional state for example the sound of a fast heartbeat can subconsciously make someone anxious and cause their own heartbeat to quicken. The addition of the heartbeat could be used for this reason, to promote a physical reaction to the piece.

  • To what extent are the textiles transformed into something other than fabric?

When I first saw the installation, I didn’t think ‘textiles’. The installation viewed as a whole  and from a distance, reminded me of pictures I’ve seen of the concentration camps at Auschwitz. I knew they were clothes and therefor textiles, but the installation changes the mindset. I’m looking at belongings, items that hold sentiment, meaning, memories and history. They are not just fabrics.

  • What’s the significance of the installation title – and of the mechanical grabber?

The significance of the name relates to the imagined sentiment of the items. To call the installation ‘Personnes’ is another reminder, along side the heartbeat, that these things belonged to actual people.

  • What associations does this work conjure up in your mind?

The associations I make when viewing this work is death, people, memories, sentiment, time relating to the time we have on this earth and also our mortality.

Personnes makes an association between textiles and the people who wear them. The use of textiles to cover/adorn the body is the focus of your next project.

Websites used: (Accessed: 07/01/2018)

–         https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/jan/17/christian-boltanski-personnnes-paris-review

–         https://vernissage.tv/2010/01/14/christian-boltanski-personnes-monumenta-2010-at-grand-palais-paris-interview-part-1/

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