Christian Boltanski was born in Paris in 1944. His father, despite converting from Judaism, was forced to hide in the family’s basement for four years during the Nazi occupation of France, which may have contributed to the artist’s fascination with themes of memory and the transience of human life. Boltanski left school at the age of 12 and was taught at home by his brothers. He received no formal art education, but began painting as a teenager. Later he moved to photography and film, exploring themes of memory, identity, and loss. He often creates a reverent mood, conjuring from the viewer notions of war memorials or shrines to the missing.