Born in 1944, Christian Boltanski is one of the most influential artists of our time – he’s known for his highly personal body of work exploring memory, loss, birth and death. More latterly his work focuses on death and commemoration.
CHANCE is an immense and complex installation – it’s like a oversize filmstrip running on large scaffolding so it looks like a giant film projector or newspaper press. You walk underneath and inside the scaffolding with a large filmstrip moving through it. The filmstrip is a series of photographs of newborn babies, taken from birth notices in Polish newspapers. There’s also two digital clocks which show the number of births and deaths across the world in real-time. Every evening at midnight, these clocks provide the figures for the day and tally a summary of births and deaths.
Another aspect of the exhibition at Carriageworks will be Boltanski’s game CHANCE. Resembling a casino slot-machine, the game is made from a mural of the top, middle and bottom segments of human faces projected onto a screen. By pressing a button, you can pause the images and create an amalgamated face, a misshapen mash of young and old. On occasions when the face components match – a prize will be issued to the visitor.
Boltanski has said that the Chance game is about hazard… ‘I mixed together portraits of Polish newborns and deceased elderly Swiss people. I cut each face into three parts: forehead, eyes and mouth. As in a slot machine, you push the button and have a randomly assembled face’ Boltanski’s idea is that we’re linked to chance from the moment our parents made love.
Boltanski has had many solo exhibitions including the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris; Park Avenue Armory in New York and the Serpertine Gallery London. MONA in Hobart has Boltanski’s work C.B. (The life of C. B.) 2010 – as part of its collection. He’s participated in Documenta and represented France at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011.
Chance is on at at Carriageworks from 10 January through till 23 March 2014. And is another substantial contribution from Carriageworks to the sydney contemporary arts scene - across all genres; dance, art, music and theatre.
245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh Sydney NSW 2015