AO was on site at the Park Avenue Armory’s second annual commission, which is showing until June 13. This year’s installment features Christian Boltanski, in an ambitious new work that fills the 55,000 square-foot Drill Hall. It’s called “No Man’s Land,” and it involves clothing, metal cranes, and the amplified sounds of its visitors’ beating hearts.
Walk-through of Christian Boltanski’s “No Man’s Land” at Park Avenue Armory. Image by Art Observed.
More images, video, and story after the jump…
Christian Boltanski’s “No Man’s Land” at Park Avenue Armory. Image by Art Observed.
“No Man’s Land” is a 40-foot mountain of used clothing that continually moves, assisted by the conveyor belts that run throughout it. A metal claw hangs off a five-story crane, which lifts a piece of clothing, lets it fall, and lift it again. The piece’s title tells patrons that the mountain (and process) is of no one’s territory, so that it is of everyone’s. Implicated are ideas of collective and individual, manifest in the material individuals have worn as spurred on by a collective (anyway, of individuals). In other words, a single crane returns, by chance, a piece of clothing it may catch to the mountain built of clothing. The artist becomes an agent of chance.
Born in Paris in 1944, the award-winning artist Christian Boltanski has had shows at galleries around the world, including Istanbul Modern; Fondazione Magnani-Roca, in Parma, Italy; Munich’s Galerie Bernd Klüser; Rome’s Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma; Institute of Contemporary Arts London; and more. His work is the subject of the Armory’s second commission, following last year’s launch with Ernesto Neto’s “anthropodino.” “No Man’s Land” is the second large-scale work of a series exploring humanity and the human trace; at the Armory, the mountain is surrounded by camps of discarded clothes. The Armory piece gives a different context to “Personnes,” a January 2010 show at Paris’s Grand Palais, which used many of the same materials.
– R. Fogel
Christian Boltanski’s Bonfire of Humanity [TMagazine]
Christian Boltanski’s No Man’s Land at the Armory [Huffington Post]
Christian Boltanski [Marian Goodman]
Park Avenue Armory [Organization Page]