Christian Boltanski at the Château de Versailles, Musée du Louvre and Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

Homage, 12 Oct 2021 – 13 Apr 2022

Les Archives de Christian Boltanski, 1965-1988’ (1989)

Three Parisian institutions invite the audience to remember Christian Boltanski, who passed away on July 14. Throughout his career, the French artist explored leitmotifs such as death, loss and remembrance, that seem to echo even deeper within his oeuvre now he is gone.

The Château de Versailles reopens the Chapelle Royale after a three years refurbishment with the sound installation ‘L'Horloge parlante’ (2003). It consists of a voice marking the hours, minutes and seconds, reminding us the race of time. This sound piece also resonates in the crypt of the Salzburg Cathedral, where it was permanently installed in 2009.


The Musée du Louvre presents ‘Les Archives de Christian Boltanski, 1965-1988’ (1989) in the prestigious Grande Galerie. This monumental sculpture is made of 600 biscuit boxes containing thousands of photographs and documents that embody a personal archeology of the artist’s life. This is Boltanski’s third presentation at the museum. In 2000 he exhibited photographs of items that had been lost by museum visitors for ‘L’Empire du Temps. Mythes et créations’, followed in 2004 by the group show ‘Contrepoint. L’art contemporain au Louvre’.

The Centre Pompidou dedicates three rooms of the collection displays to ‘La Vie impossible de Christian Boltanski’, titled after his first movie in 1968. Since his childhood Boltanski has collected all sorts of photographs and objects that represent insignificant traces of lives – his own as well as the life of strangers. These mementos are gathered in albums and archives that translate into installations – in a both sociological and autographical attempt to define remembrance. The presentation ends with ‘Coeur’, in which a light bulb flickers to the rhythm of Boltanski’s heartbeat, blurring the boundary between presence and absence.

Yes it's my heart, but it doesn't matter.

- Christian Boltanski
Christian Boltanski, ‘Entre-temps’

Image credits : Christian Boltanski, ‘Les Archives de Christian Boltanski’, metal, lamps, cables, photographs, paper, Collection Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne © Christian Boltanski, photo Philippe Migeat ; La Chapelle Royale © Château de Versailles / T. Garnier; Christian Boltanski, ‘Entre-temps’, 1 min. 37 sec., silent, beamer, string curtain, courtesy Studio Christian Boltanski and Marian Goodman Gallery © Christian Boltanski.

‘L'Horloge parlante’
Château de Versailles, until 6 Nov 2021

‘La Vie impossible de Christian Boltanski’
Centre Pompidou, until 13 Apr 2022

‘Les Archives de Christian Boltanski, 1965-1988’
Musée du Louvre, until 10 Jan 2022

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