About Monument

Christian Boltanski’s Monument—from a series with the same title—features tiny light bulbs resembling candles and a single flower photo, combined with seven images of children. This combination evokes a tribute to the missing or the dead, a suggestion reinforced by the title. In reality, the monument Boltanski builds is to a more metaphorical death. Looking at school pictures from his childhood, he felt that the classmates he had known were dead, replaced by adults who were strangers to him. He has said, “What drives me as an artist is that I think everyone is so unique, yet everyone disappears so quickly.” Driven to commemorate this loss, the artist recycled photographs he’d taken for another project, depicting schoolchildren in Dijon, France in the 1970s. The colored rectangles surrounding the faces and flowers are photographs of crinkled wrapping paper.

 

Artist: Christian Boltanski (French b. 1944)

Creation date: 1986

Credit line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund, 2004.13