Les Registres de Grand-Hornu, by Christian Boltanski


"To me, each person is unique and extremely fragile. Our memory fades. For example, my grandmother, a remarkable woman of a strong personality, today only lives in my memory and in my brother's. Once we are dead, no one in this world will remember her!
The contrast between the importance of one life, and how quickly it is forgotten once it no longer exists, it's something that truly alarms me".
Christian Boltanski
03/06/17 - With an overwhelming installation, French artist Christian Boltanski remembers those who lost their lives between the 30s and 50s in the coal mines of Grand-Hornu, in Belgium, today a World Heritage site. The artwork, almost 40 mts long, occupies an entire wall at the El Instante Fundación, in Madrid. It's made of piled cans, like those children use to keep their treasures, and each one has a photo and the name of a missing miner, as if they contained their ashes or memories. The lighting, quite weak, creates a mood that, according to the curators, encourages meditation. The truth is that Boltanski (1944), with Les Registres du Grand-Hornu, creates a tragical and political evocation, that not only remembers those human beings that have been forgotten, but also the cruel work conditions of the workers in the first decades of the 20th century.

Les Registres de Grand-Hornu, by Christian Boltanski (1997)
Technique: installation / Measures: 472 x 1015 x 19 cm

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