Christian Boltanski (France, 1944) is an internationally renowned French artist whose installations have been presented in major museums around the world. His work is characterized by its capacity to question traumatic historical events from the past century, while simultaneously creating a profound, personal, and emotional experience for spectators:
French artists Christian Boltanski next to his work Chance presented in the 54th Venice Biennale
“What I try to do through my work is pose questions and discuss philosophical issues through visual imagery rather than through stories put into words. I’m referring to very simple things that are common to us all. I’m not talking about complicated things. I try to get people to forget that my pieces are art to make them think that they are life itself.”
Given his extraordinary ability to visually impact and provoke reflection from his audience, Fundación Mar Adentro, formed an alliance with BBO Cultural Developments, led by Beatriz Bustos Oyanedel and her team of curatorial assistants, Amparo Irarrázaval and Maya Errázuriz, to initiate the creation of the project, beginning in May 2014. The project consisted of three fundamental branches:
- An exhibition presented as an homage to Christian Boltanski’s work in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Santiago, Chile
- An artistic intervention in the Atacama Desert, Chile
- A presentation of the artistic intervention in the Atacama in the 56th Venice Biennale art festival.
Animitas, Christian Boltanski
Almas was presented in homage to his work in the eight exhibition rooms in Santiago’s National Museum of Fine Arts, as well as in its central hall. In line with the rest of his work, Almas challenges its audience to contemplate their individual role in society. The Christian Boltanski project also showcased one of his newest works in the Atacama Desert, which like some of his other installations found in the most remote parts of the world, is a permanent monument dedicated to ‘humanity’. This hand-picked site, chosen by him and his curator, Beatriz Bustos O. and her team, is based in the Atacameñan community of Talabre, located at the foot of the Lascar Volcano in San Pedro de Atacama. It is there that the artist installed Animitas, a series of small bells arranged to form a stellar map. The installation was live-streamed to the Santiago National Museum of Fine Arts.
In May of 2015 Animitas was presented at the 56th Venice Biennale festival, one of the most important art events in the world, which allowed for an international display of Chile’s natural heritage, specifically of the Atacama Desert and its remote community of Talabre.
The entirety of the project was captured in “Animitas, Christian Boltanski”, a book published by Fundación Mar Adentro and Hueders Publishing House. It is one of the few Boltanski books available in Spanish.
Christian Boltanski in Chile was admitted under the Chilean Law of Cultural Donations, organized by BBO Cultural Developments, presented by Fundación Mar Adentro and the Chilean National Council of Culture and Arts, an agency which promotes culture and education as a means to espouse artistic and intellectual freedom and self-discovery.
The following collaborators also contributed to the realization of this project: Instituto Francés de Chile, Entel (who made Animitas live stream possible), Epson, Knauf, DHL, Hoteles Club Presidente, Fundación Debuenafé, Papiro, and Alsacia Express; with the support of the San Pedro Municipality, Fundación de Cultura y Turismo de San Pedro de Atacama, and Fundación Parque Puribeter.
Producers in France: Eva Albarrán & Co.
Museographic installation: Amercanda