Installations of Christian Boltański – A Record of Life Cover Image
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Instalacje Christiana Boltańskiego – dokument życia
Installations of Christian Boltański – A Record of Life

Author(s): Karolina Tomczak
Subject(s): Visual Arts
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: Christian Boltański; installation; record; testimony; photography; Holocaust;avantgarde;
Summary/Abstract: The article Installations of Christian Boltański – A Record of Life concerns the contemporary art of that French creator, focused on the topic of testimony and recording. Referring to particular pieces of Boltański’s art. and adopting the methodological angle, the article discusses the meaning, role and ways of including records. This oscillation between testimony and creation is visible in the aforementioned installations, which utilize the photography of a (non)living man as well as ephemeral material, such as the audio recording of a beating heart. The author touches upon these records utilized by Boltański within the context of Charles S. Peirce’s and Roland Barthes’s sign, the theory of the simulacrum and hyperreality of Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida’s concept of aporia and Hal Foster’s traumatic realism and traumatic illusionism. The attempt at placing Boltański’s art between modernism and postmodernism consists in pointing to the similarities with minimalism, conceptualism as well as the quality of his contemporary installation. Meanwhile, Boltański’s fascination with Tadeusz Kantor and his coexistence alongside the Polish avantgarde post-Polish October art movement, which also made use of records, invite a certain analogy between the French creator of Jewish-Russian origins and Polish art. In this way, the text emphasizes the multiplicity of angles in the consideration of Boltański’s art of testimony, placing it in the broad context of recording the fleeting reality and human life, which characterize the art of the 20th century. In addition, it touches upon the question of the possibility of objectively reflecting reality, history and memory in the artistic medium at the same time as it establishes Boltański’s installations as new artistic testimony which invites cocreation of the testimony of its reception.

  • Page Range: 9-30
  • Page Count: 22
  • Publication Year: 2018
  • Language: Polish