Boltanski at the AIC


You probably have only one idea, as an artist, you have more or less one idea. 

What book did he write in 1969--said it contains all. 

When I became an adult, when my parents died, when I became old--the creative moments

To make a travel, that is life, you speak about it

There is always some kind of trauma. In my case, it was an historical trauma

Speaking about individuals, not groups 

My artwork is  a fight against death and to save memory. I will, in the end, fail. 

The small versus the big idea. 

I make art to understand. 

The beginning of the question, the biggest question for me is that all humans are unique and yet they are all so fragile. When I am dead, my mother's memory will significantly depreciate, and no one, in fact, might remember her then.

Feeling the absence more so than the presence. 

I am not a modern artist. I use video, sound, objects, but the questions I ask are those that people asked themselves 300 years ago: why will I die the,  beauty of the natural etc

Give emotion. 

I have no face. I have only a mirror, and perhaps everyone can see him or herself in that mirror. 

The beauty of art is that it's imprecise, like poetry. Everyone can put his or her own story in the cracks. 

Show you a little bit of what you know already. 

Images and sound are not so precise. Perhaps words can be too precise 

Something stronger than us is the time and place where we are born. 

In one sense Christian and occidental: the relics and bones

And then the eastern: regeneration, destruction and creation. The works can be played again. I am alive, and I play my own music. 

It is important that pieces can be reincarnated. 

"No man's land" at the armory. The same piece and yet no transport elsewhere in the world. I must play the piece each time. Nothing transported. 

Am now doing two kinds of work, large scale installations and then to create a mythology, a penultimate work. 

There is a man who is a gambler. He's very rich. He bought my life. I have video cameras in my studio. He knows when I am in my studio or not. In the end, if you want to have your own life you can't look at the life of someone else. He does not have my spirit or my mind. I will elude him. 

Chances relation to being a believer or not. If you are not religious, it's chance . . . If I die tonight. 

I have 10,000 dead Swiss in my home. 

There was a big mountain of used clothes. For me a dead body or used clothes are the same. The crane was like the finger of God, taking certain articles of clothing by chance. 

The Swiss have no historical reason to die. They are rich, they are clean, they have no trauma. 

The work must used form to touch people, to help people, to understand the question. A question is a good question that leads to another question. 

All my work is a long process to understand a question that I had when I was very young. It began when I was 23 years old. I realized that my parents were going to die. My work was made at this moment. There are very few new ideas. You have nothing to do, you are in front of a wall, trying to understand, and sometimes the wall cracks. The only thing you can do is wait and hope.

There is nothing to teach and nothing to learn. Only the opportunity to understand who you are. Louise Bourgeois's relationship to her father. She didn't resolve this problem. But she understand it better in the end. 

When I was young I was often very sad, and the ability to speak about that sadness saved me.  

Giving a name is one of the most important things we can do. It acknowledges the uniqueness of a person. 

The worst thing you can say to a young artist is to say he or she is professional. That's the worst. We must be outside. To make art, it's something so strange, pretentious, these professionals. To win money is easy. To be a good artists is so difficult. You never know if it's possible for you to make another piece. It's a problem, it's very painful. 

All of us. We need to be a real person. Going to your job, to run errands, this is all normalizing . . . 

When I wanted to depress my student, which was useful for them, I told them that the first exam wasn't important at all but that I must give you the idea of being normal. The reality of being an artist is totally lonely and lost and no one can help you. I give you this for the sake of normalization. 

In your life you repeat and repeat and you try to understand. 

Art and religion are still connected. I want people to repeat the prayer. 

Maybe this is not true but it's possible me. Our face is a puzzle of all people before us. They all disappeared, but they are inside our face, and I also believe they are inside your spirit.  

the knowledge is more important than the relic. 

A large part of my work is to make tombs for people. 

Sometimes we lie to ourselves and don't want to see the real reason why we made somethings but slowly we understand. 

If like I told oh this man will die before 3 years people will say oh Christian don't say that that's awful. If you lost someone in your family people expect not to talk much about, it's not a shame it's a part of life. To speak about the fact that we're going to die is better for us. We know that we're on a line, with people behind us and before us. To be human is to know and understand and accept that. 

I hope in a few years that people will forget that the names of artists and will just see something, a knowledge, a fact? a truth, that has existed for a very long time. 

What I have to say is something simple, something that everyone can know. The big goal for an artist is to disappear and become his art. I will look like a biscuit box. To become and look like your art, that is something scary and marvelous. 

If you go there [Japan Heart Archive] to hear the heart, you must go as a pilgrimage. This island that contains this archive of heartbeats will slowly become the island of dead people, the number of dead souls will outnumber the living. But it is also important to know and dream about the fact that that work exists in Japan, I think. Mayb you don't have to see it to know it. Perhaps it's more important to know its there than to see it. I think some things works like that.

Matty Davis