In 1988, French artist Christian Boltanski (b. 1944) created Les Archives de C. B. 1965-1988, a monumental collection of over 2,000 photographs, letters, and other personal and professional documents, displayed in a way that simultaneously invites and refuses interest. In assembling these documents of his life, accumulated over the course of more than two decades into a personal archive made semipublic, Boltanski, I argue, questions the fundamental ability of such recordsphotographic or otherwiseto reveal a story of the past. From personal snapshots to professional photographic documentation of his artwork, photographs play a crucial role in his skepticism of biographical and historical reconstruction. Boltanski's project anticipates our contemporary fascination and obsession with the total archive and illustrates the folly of that enterprise.
- Christian (b. 1944)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts