FMA Launches A Book on Boltanski

Animitas, published by Hueders and Fundación Mar Adentro, reveals the creative productive process of the homonymous installation that the renowned French artist created with the Atacameñan community of Talabre, at the foot of the volcano Láscar, in octubre 2014. It is one of the few Boltanski books published in Spanish and will be sold in Madrid and Barcelona, in the La Central bookstores, Reina Sofía Museum store, in Mexico, France and Chile.

They were hundreds of Japanese bells that the French artist Christian Boltanski installed onto metallic supports in the northern community of Talabre, located 60 km from San Pedro de Atacama, in October 2014. The intervention, entitled Animitas, interrupted the solitude of the desert with a pristine sound that honors those that are no longer among us. The installation, supported by FMA to promote respect for the environment and the different cultures of Chile, was part of Almas (Souls), a retrospective of the work of Boltanski presented in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Santiago and where the installation was transmitted via livestream.

To account for the realization of the artist, whose works are part of the collections of the MOMA in New York, the Tate Museum in London, and the Center Georges Pompidou in Paris, among others, Fundación Mar Adentro and the publishing house Hueders published the book Animitas, which reveals by means of photos and text Boltanski’s visit to Chile. To visualize the creative productive process of his installation in Talabre was what Boltanski himself wanted to spread as part of a work he created with many people.

El artista caminando por los alrededores de Talabre

The artist roaming in Talabre and its surroundings

The book, of 160 pages, is a publication that includes various kinds of content that help deepen Boltanski’s work: the story of how the curator, Beatriz Bustos, contacted and convinced the artist to implement a project in Chile; the tour through Atacama to find the place for the installation, diaries/notebooks kept during the production process, interviews, research on animitas and the Atacama culture, as well as the incorporation of the work in the Venice Biennale of 2015.

The core of the story is the creation and mounting of the installation in Talabre, whose community received and housed the project, worked with the artist, and celebrated its inauguration with a traditional tribute to earth ceremony. Each bell was placed following a star map of the day of Boltanski’s birth, given that it is important for the artist to work from his own history because this allows an encounter between his memory and collective memory.

Boltanski, born in 1944, is a photographer, sculptor and filmmaker, but the greatest impact has been achieved with his installations. Death, life and identity are recurrent themes in his work, which is marked by a deep interest in memory and intentionality of archiving that goes beyond what is explicitly present. That is why he relies on fragile materials (old photographs, used clothes, used personal and everyday objects, newspaper clippings, letters, etc.) as testimonies of the brevity of life.

The book Animitas, which has just been released in Chile, also features images of the installation process of the exhibition, and information on the round tables and film cycle that were part of his retrospective Almas, at the Nacional Museum of Fine Arts of Santiago, Chile, an exhibition supported by Fundación Mar Adentro.

Available in bookstores starting January 14th 2015, $18.000.- CLP.

Book cover Interior pages of the book portraying Boltanski next to his installation, Animitas Animitas, Christian Boltanski A women of the Talabre community sitting alongside Boltanski's Animitas