Untitled (Les Bougies, Lessons of Darkness)
End of 1980s
Installation: 12 figurines made from cut oxidised cooper sheet, aluminium bracket, wax and candles. Length of bracket 31 cm. Installation dimensions variable. - Minor partially material-related traces of age.
In an interview, Boltanski was asked the following question:
'You have previously said that you wish your work to be like a candle which can be extinguished at any moment. Are you pushing this to aim far with your shadow pictures?'
'I connect a lot to the 'shadows'. Initially it reminds one of the dead, one talks of the realm of shades. It also however lends a direct connection to photography; in Greek this means to write with light. A shadow is therefore a primary photograph. Shadow is also deceptive; as we say, 'one hides the prize under the shadow'. The shadow is a trick, just like the small paper figure, which appears as a great lion; [...] shadows interest me in this way, because they are theatre, in its artistic sense. I wanted to make a kind of dance of death with the shadows. The small figures I made are often skeletons, but cute, small skeletons; it is also a dance of death for children. I then like the ephemerality of shadow; the shadows can disappear in a moment. As soon as the light or candles fade, there is nothing left. The shadow is fragile, it is not tangible'. (Christian Boltanski, in: Interview Doris von Drateln - Christian Boltanski, Paris December 1990, in: Christian Boltanski, Inventar, exhib.cat. Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg 1991, pp.73-75).
The present work is registered under the number 0568 in the Archiv Christian Boltanski, Paris.
Marian Goodman Gallery, New York