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Monument/Odessa

Modern and Contemporary Art

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Monument/Odessa

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Christian Boltanski
French, 1944-2021

Date

1990

Medium

Photographs, tin biscuit boxes, lightbulbs, glass, and electrical cords

Accession #

1999.109

Dimensions

122 x 48 x 8 5/8 inches

Location

Description

This piece reflects Boltanski’s desire to blur the boundaries of life and art by exploring the complex relationship between death and memory. Consisting of ten black-and-white portrait photographs of unknown children, the series is rendered anonymous by the close cropping of dark, blurry images. Their identities are further shrouded by tangled electrical cords, which power dozens of small lights that create a glare on the glass over the photographs. The overall effect is that of a shrine or altar that memorializes an ineffable loss, indicating that life is rarely black or white but merely filled with ironies and inconsistencies.

Credit

The Lenore and Burton Gold Collection of 20th-Century Art

Image Copyright

(C) 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris