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Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 24 January 1940, in New York.

Painter, sculptor, performance artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Body Art, Conceptual Art.

Vito Acconci was born in the Bronx, New York and lives and works in Brooklyn. He studied at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts and at the University of Iowa. He has taught in various art schools and universities and in particular at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University and the Parsons School of Design in New York....

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1966, in Marseilles.

Installation artist, sculptor, action artist, photographer.

Conceptual Art.

Boris Achour, who was a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, received a three-month extra-mural bursary from the Villa Médicis that he spent in Los Angeles in ...

Article

Dutch, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA from 1963.

Born 1942, in Winschoten; died 1975, while crossing the Atlantic.

Performance artist, happenings artist, installation artist, photographer.

Conceptual Art.

Bas Jan Ader settled in the USA when he was 21 years old, and studied art and philosophy at the University of California in Irvine, where he would later teach. After ...

Article

Finnish, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in Helsinki.

Born 1959, in Hämeenlinna.

Video installation artist, film producer, photographer, performance artist.

Conceptual Art.

Eija-Liisa Ahtila was a student at the university of Helsinki from 1980 to 1985 and studied film and video at the London College of Painting. In ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 17 June 1931, in National City (California).

Painter, video artist, photographer. Artist’s books.

Conceptual Art.

John Baldessari lives and works in Santa Monica, California. At the end of the 1950s, he decided to abandon painting and burned his pictures. He has stated that he profoundly disagreed with art in general, and therefore decided to give people what they understood best: written language and photography....

Article

German, 20th century, male and female.

Bernd born 20 August 1931, in Siegen, and Hilla born 2 September 1934 in Potsdam; Bernd died 22 June 2007, in Rostock .

Photographers.

Conceptual Art.

Düsseldorf School.

Bernd Becher was a student at the academy in Stuttgart before studying at the academy in Düsseldorf, where in ...

Article

C. Nagy

(b Budapest, Oct 26, 1941).

Hungarian painter, photographer and conceptual artist. He studied under Géza Fónyi at the Fine Art College in Budapest and then from 1966 to 1972 produced portraits, in which the influence of Expressionism was noticeable. From 1973 to 1979, however, he moved in a different direction, producing films, photographic sequences and textual conceptual works, all based on structuralist analysis of pictorial representation and of the institutions of the exhibition and the museum (e.g. the photographic sequences Inquiries on the Exterior Wall of the Museum of Fine Arts, 1975–6; and Reflections, 1976). From 1975 to 1980 he was involved in the Indigo project led by Miklós Erdély, but in 1980 he returned to oil painting, producing abstract works divided into two or three sections and often symmetrical in composition. At first these were vividly coloured, using bold brushstrokes and inspired by the Hungarian landscape, but later works were dominated by schematic representations of the human face, reduced after ...

Article

Dutch, 20th century, male.

Born 28 January 1934, in Leerdam.

Painter, draughtsman, video artist. Multimedia.

Conceptual Art, Mail Art.

Marinus Boezem lived and worked in Holland; he embarked on his artistic career by exhibiting a section of a Dutch polder in 1960. Following this 'statement', which would have done credit even to Marcel Duchamp, he discovered what he termed the 'plasticity of air': in ...

Article

Manuel Cirauqui

(b Mexico City, 1981).

Mexican conceptual artist. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bonillas started his career before, and instead of, undertaking an official fine arts education. Widely and internationally exhibited before he reached age 20, his work began with highly analytical studies of ordinary photographic procedures such as printing (in his foundational piece, Trabajos fotográficos, 1998) or pressing the shutter (Diez cámaras documentadas acústicamente, 1998).

Bonillas’s work investigates the materiality and semiotic depth of the photographic medium in a somewhat topographic manner: starting, and never ending, in a periphery that stands ambiguously as both the material margins of photography as well as its self-reflective dimension. However, the “peripheral” nature of Bonillas’s inquiry quickly reveals itself as a strategy to address core aspects of a medium whose substance lies, precisely, on its surface. As the artist exerts infinite variations on generic aspects of the photographic practice, alternately related to structure and meaning (primary colors, family photographs, erasures, captioning, fiction, archival habits, etc.), he delivers a paradox with each of his works. In them, background becomes foreground, face becomes pigment, anecdote becomes the main theme, stain becomes signature, and vice versa....

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1945, in Paris.

Painter, installation artist, intervention artist, performance artist, photographer. Multimedia.

Conceptual Art, Land Art, Body Art.

The beginnings of Borgeaud's work, as it was to develop subsequently, can be dated from 1969, the year of the exhibition event ...

Article

Belgian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1946, in Kapellen.

Painter, draughtsman, photographer, video artist.

Conceptual Art.

Bruyninckx trained at the Institut de St Luc in Brussels. He takes basic elements from nature, a blade of grass, for example, and produces multiple representations in drawings, paintings, photographs, video and other media....

Article

Hilary Gresty

(b Sheffield, July 24, 1941).

English conceptual artist, writer and photographer. He studied painting at the Royal College of Art from 1962 to 1965 and philosophy and fine art at Yale University from 1965 to 1967. From the late 1960s he adhered to Conceptual art using combinations of photographic images and printed texts to examine the relationship between apparent and implicit meaning. In his ...

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1953 , in Paris.

Installation artist, photographer, film producer. Artists’ books.

Conceptual Art, Art Narratif.

Starting from a narrative framework, Sophie Calle creates installations, books, films, and even CDs, illustrating an autobiographical experience or exploring the limits between private and public space. Texts accompany the photographs as part of the exhibit on the wall. Artists’ books she has published include: ...

Article

Marta Zarzycka

(b Paris, Oct 9, 1953).

French photographer, writer, and conceptual artist. Calle’s work engages with absence of others, either loved ones or strangers. Her frequent use of street photography, scene-of-the-crime photography, surveillance cameras, and archival photography lend a documentary character to her work. The stories she tells in that documentary mode, however, are often mysterious and their relationship to reality remains uncertain.

In her art, Calle often acts as the pursuer or voyeur; on other occasions she places herself directly under the observation of others. One of her early works, Suite Vénitienne (1980), involved following someone that she had met at a party in Paris to Venice, without his knowledge. The photographic documentation of the project raised questions as to whether the man’s identity could be revealed by his day-to-day movements through the city, as well as imitating ironically the behaviour of unrequited love. The French philosopher Jean Baudrillard wrote an essay (...

Article

Canadian, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 12 August 1941, in Victoria.

Installation artist, photographer, sculptor.

Conceptual Art.

Ian Carr-Harris studied Modern History at Queen’s University, where he received an honours bachelor of arts in 1963, and went on to obtain a bachelor of library science from the University of Toronto in ...

Article

Tom Williams

(b East Orange, NJ, March 29, 1947; d Falls Village, CT, June 25, 2013).

American photographer and conceptual artist. Charlesworth received a BA in art history from Barnard College in New York in 1969. During her undergraduate years, she enrolled in a number of studio courses, including those taught by conceptual artist Douglas Huebler, and her work was decisively shaped by late 1960s debates about conceptual art. In 1974–5 she joined with Joseph Kosuth and others to establish and edit the combative conceptualist journal The Fox, to which she made several contributions, including ‘Declaration of Dependence’, her well-known essay about the artist’s place in the larger society. Her photo-conceptualist practice is often associated with the so-called Pictures Generation that included other photographers such as Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, and Cindy Sherman, and in this context, she is often regarded as a key figure in the development of appropriation art during the late 1970s and early 1980s. From 1992 she taught at the School of Visual Art in New York and from ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b London, Nov 8, 1965).

English conceptual artist, photographer and film maker. He studied History of Art at Manchester University (1985–8) and Fine Art at Goldsmiths’ College, London (MFA, 1992–4). In 1990 he began a series of works by placing advertisements in the London magazine Loot and various newspapers, inviting people who thought they looked like God to send in their picture; this evolved into The God Look-Alike Contest (1992–3; London, Saatchi Gal.), exhibited in the Sensation exhibition (London, RA, 1997) and consisting of the original advertisement and the responses he received. For Involva (1995; see 1999 exh. cat., pp. 19–21), he advertised in a sex contacts magazine, illustrating a drawing of a woodland clearing with the caption ‘Please will you join me here?’. He then photographed the letters he had in reply in a clearing similar to the one shown in his announcement. The process of asking a question that at first appears naive or absurd is a key strategy in Chodzko’s work, the final form of which is the product of other people’s imaginations. In the late 1990s he began to target specific groups for his projects, as in ...

Article

Native American (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1946, in Montana.

Printmaker, photographer, conceptual artist, installation artist.

Corwin Clairmont, or ‘Corky’, received his MFA from California State University, Los Angeles in 1971. His early work, concerning social and environmental issues, earned him a Ford Foundation Grant (...

Article

Francis Summers

American photographers and conceptual artists of Irish and Israeli birth. Collaborating under a corporate-sounding name, Michael Clegg (b Dublin, 1957) and Martin Guttman (b Jerusalem, 1957) began making photographs together in 1980. Using corporate group portraits as their resource material, they made constructed photographs in the manner of 17th-century Dutch paintings. A Group Portrait of the Executives of a World Wide Company (1980; see 1989 exh. cat., p. 33) shows five suited men seated in a brooding darkness, their heads and hands illuminated in a chiaroscuro effect. The reference to historical paintings is made particularly explicit in The Art Consultants (1986; see 1989 exh. cat., p. 37): the figures are posed directly in front of a canvas so as to mirror the painted figures, illustrating Clegg & Guttman’s proposition that within the hierarchies of power, the essential nature of pose, emblems and dress have remained relatively unchanged for centuries. Pushing these images to the point of indetermination, Clegg & Guttman also occasionally carried out actual commissions (although not always successfully), as well as creating collaged and altered portraits such as ...

Article

Canadian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1949, in Arvida (Quebec).

Painter, photographer, installation artist.

Conceptual Art.

Sylvain P. Cousineau creates three-dimensional assemblages which give a good idea of his creative process. He accumulates canvases, oils, wood panels, discarded objects, domestic debris and ironmongery, and produces deliberately simple images which, rather than yield meaning, serve above all to highlight the appropriateness of the materials used. The apparent naivety of the images is merely feigned, and is contradicted by the skill of Cousineau's pictorial and other techniques....