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Boltanski, Christian (Artist/Photographer/Author) & Grenier, Catherine (Editor/Co-Author). THE POSSIBLE LIFE OF CHRISTIAN BOLTANSKI. Boston, MA: Museum Of Fine Art Publications, 2009. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 239 pages. As New/As New.

The artist/photographer's oral autobiography. One of the finest art and photography books of our time. The first appearance of the title in English and in the United States. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. The title alludes to one of Christian Boltanski's masterpieces, "La Vie Impossible" ("The Impossible Life"). The book is beautifully produced, with a Preface by the culture critic Luc Sante (which appears in the American Edition only), a brilliant DJ design by Mark Polizzotti, vintage photographs appended at the center of the book, and a title page that is in continuous, "back-to-back" pages (instead of the usual single page or doublespread). Presents Christian Boltanski's personal story, told entirely in the form of a series of interviews conducted by Catherine Grenier, who deserves credit for the idea and its brilliant realization. The beauty of Grenier's interview format is that it gives us Christian Boltanski's voice in all its acute particularity. His voice leaps off the page, resulting in a narrative that once began is impossible to put down: Intelligent, candid, and for admirers of his solemn installations and Artist Books, surprisingly, deliciously, and refreshingly hilarious and down-to-earth. "Christian Boltanski's votive installations, archives, and objects, revolving around the fragile polarities of memory and amnesia, identity and anonymity, have made him one of the world's most renowned contemporary artists. And yet, despite the centrality of biography and testimony to his work, Boltanski's own story is little-known and has never been fully told. He recounts his unusual wartime childhood, his career, friendships, marriage, successes, regrets, his approaches to art and teaching, how he created various installations, his relations with dealers and the public, and other matters that illuminate as never before his complex, enigmatic works. As both the self-portrait of a major contemporary artist and a frank, fascinating memoir, this is a document of capital importance" (Publisher's blurb). Two examples: "My mother hid my father under the floorboards. He stayed there for a year and a half, between two floors in the house. He'd come out from time to time. I'm living proof of that!" (on how his Jewish father survived the Holocaust). "For years now, there's been this idea about me: He's a fraud, he's making a living out of suffering and the Shoah. There's always a little bit of truth in everything, but this type of reaction places enormous limitations on any understanding of my work. Suffering exists; misfortune exists; talking about these things isn't forbidden yet it's very difficult to do, it's looked upon very badly. Suffering is one of art's great subjects, and always has been" (Christian Boltanski). Autobiography-as-literature, this is a "must-have" title for Christian Boltanski collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed in black pen on the title page by Christian Boltanski. He made exactly one appearance in New York City to launch the book. This title is now highly collectible. This is one of very few signed copies of the First American Edition still available online and has no flaws, a pristine beauty. A very scarce signed copy thus. One of the greatest living artist/photographers. A flawless copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER CHRISTIAN BOLTANSKI TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0878467467. $70.00

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