Christian Boltanski’s first posthumous exhibition is titled after his birth year. But ‘4.4’ not only refers to 1944. When choosing the title in the last remaining months of his life, the artist was well aware the number 4 represents mortality in Korea – as it is phonetically the same as the Chinese character for death ('sa': 사, 死).
“I don’t know where I want to die. I think I shall die somewhere, making a show… and I shall be in a country very far away. Making a retrospective in Ulaanbaatar. Like the old clown, traveling all the time and dying on the road.”- Christian Boltanski (from a 2015 conversation with Hiroshi Sugimoto)
Image credits: Christian Boltanski, Coeur, 2005; Crépuscule, 2015; installation views, Kewenig, Berlin, 2021 © Christian Boltanski, photos Lepkowski Studios, Berlin
Bringing together 43 works ranging from historical pieces to his most recent creations, the exhibition explores leitmotivs at the core of Boltanski’s oeuvre: life, death, absence and oblivion – metaphysical concepts that resonate even further since the artist passed away last July. It is his largest exhibition in South Korea since 1997.