Christian Boltanski Exhibition

Inside Christian Boltanski

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in someone’s mind? Well, here’s your chance! Christian Boltanski is showing in Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Italy, and it’s as if you’re walking through his mind. The exhibition is called: Anime. Di luogo in luogo, or in English: Soul. Of place in place.

The exhibition design has something to do with this experience too, I must say. You enter the exhibition through a door that closes off a darkened room. In it, there is only one lightbulb hanging from an electrical cord in the middle, lighting-up on the pulse of a beat, surrounded by black mirrors of different sizes on all four walls. Anime. At the back of the room there is a curtain of beaded strings that you walk through to the main room of the exhibit. All the beads on all the strings together show a black-and-white picture of a face.

The main room is divided into squares by white, half see-through curtains hanging high up, reaching down to your waist, repeating the picture of the walk-through curtain. I think. It’s a face anyway and what you can see mostly of it, is the eyes. These ‘curtains’ are hung up throughout the room. You have to brush them aside to continue your way and find the side rooms of the exhibition.

In the different side rooms, there are – among other things – black-and-white photographs of people, mostly women, attached with a thread to a drawer beneath, shrine-like structures with again photographs of people, drawer cabinets with pictures on the drawers, video-projections, flowers, and carts with clothes. They come across as memories of sorts.

In the middle of the big room there is a big, gold-toned, cone-shaped structure. Upon touch (yes, I touched it, guilty as charged!), it turns out to be covered in golden survival blankets, as if it is fragile, offsetting its size, shape and overall appearance, or precious, denying its potato-like surface of imperfection. Is it a representation of the artist’s anime? Or is it life itself?

It’s hard to imagine that the exhibition has been put together. It is made up of works that have been made in different times, ranging from the eighties of the last century up to this year, 2017. But they go so well together, that the totality of it makes it look very much like one art work. That’s why it is so good to present them in this way!

All the questions the exhibition raises, all ideas the exhibit causes to spring up in your mind! This is what truly good art does: inspire! I hope you take away from it as much as I did. In this exhibition, I found my anime, di luogo in luogo!


Christian Boltanski (1944) is a French artist and one of the most prominent examples of French conceptual art to date. He is most well-known for his photography installations, but also works as a sculptor, painter, and film maker.


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