(born September 6, 1944) is a French photographer, sculptor, self-proclaimed painter, and installation artist.
Boltanski was born in Paris to a Jewish father of Ukrainian heritage and a Corsican mother. He lives and works in Malakoff and is married to the artist Annette Messager, with whom he sometimes collaborates.
His artistic work is haunted by the problems of death, memory and loss; he often seeks to memorialize the anonymous and those who have disappeared.
In his preliminary years, Boltanski painted in an autodidactic way, concerned primarily with themes of historical significance. However, by the 1970s, Boltanski removed himself from the painting arena and began his quest for remnants of his own past through selected artworks. These artworks led Boltanski to question the substance he had used when creating his own artworks. However, this introspectivism supplied him with the motive for other artworks in which non-truths and the realisation of fundamental truths converged. Boltanski reconstructed his own youth in this method. In doing so, Boltanski used a vast spectrum of media. For example, film, performance, photography and video. It is interesting to note that Boltanski maintained this vision and direction without focusing on the obvious contradiction of his self-understanding as a painter.
Moreover, the combination of varied media is a fundamental part of the spatial dimension which has been the focus of Boltanski's work since the mid-1980s.
The child in the works of Boltanski:
Boltanski, Jewish School of Grosse Hamburgerstrasse in Berlin 2, 1994
Boltanski, Jewish School of Grosse Hamburgerstrasse in Berlin, 1994
Boltanski, Monument: The Children of Dijon (detail),1986
Boltanski, These Children are Looking for their Parents (detail), 1994