new-york

Christian Boltanski

Marian Goodman Gallery | New York

The secret of Christian Boltanski’s art is repetition and gloom. One’s eyes have to adjust to the dimly lit gallery, and one’s mind to the repetition of photographs of faces, biscuit tins, and shaded lights. The faces are different—an individual life stands behind each—but they blur by reason of their redundancy; they become one haunting, generalized, melancholy image. This accords well with their chiaroscuro. A strange transference occurs that is conducive to introspection as we search the faces in their twilight: we see the endless number of suffering people and discover ourselves to be among them—just another face in the crowd. We too will die and take our dubious place in history as shady memories out of focus in the minds of others; when this identification is complete—when it hits us with insidiously suffocating emotional force—the concept that animates Boltanski’s art becomes

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