Monumenta 2010: Christian Boltanski

“Personnes”, the installation by Christian Boltanski for Monumenta 2010.

Enter into the great nave of the Grand Palais and it is immediately clear that the ‘people’ are us. Images and videos are able to convey the humble grandiosity of “Personnes”, the installation by Christian Boltanski for Monumenta 2010 but it is the sound, familiar yet disturbing, that accompanies the visitor amid the islands of clothes, neatly arranged along hypothetical avenues and up to the heap of clothes that a crane continues to pick up and drop, that makes the experience so intimate and touching.

Sometimes few, sometimes many, the clothes are grabbed by the claw, sometimes falling immediately (are they momentarily saved?), almost always raised up high and then left to fall back onto the pile, anonymous.

Amassed in a great heap or neatly arranged in islands to walk by accompanied by the amplified sound of heartbeats, these clothes speak of a humanity that destiny has already taken away, according to laws that we neither comprehend or know how to interpret.

They are simulacrums of lives lived and the anticipation of what awaits every one of us. Overcoats and suits spread on the floor are almost always arranged face down – perhaps because we all try and turn our backs on death – and one in a thousand is faced upwards, perhaps meeting destiny face to face is reserved to but a few.

According to the wishes of the artist, when the exhibition is over all the clothes will be recycled. Those who would like to register their own heartbeat can do so and offer it to Les Archives du Coeur that Boltanski has been collecting for some time and that has already been the object of an installation at Insel Ejima (Japan) in 2008. In Paris, one Sunday in January 2010, the queue to register one’s heartbeat was roughly an hour long. MCT

Nef du Grand Palais - Porte principale
Avenue Winston Churchill 75008 Parigi

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