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Article

Iliana Cepero

(b Buenos Aires, Sept 3, 1920; d Buenos Aires, Jul 24, 2013).

Argentine conceptual artist, poet, and sculptor. In 1947 Ferrari earned his bachelor degree in Engineering at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Between 1952 and 1955, while in Italy seeking medical treatment for his daughter, Ferrari began to experiment with ceramics, and exhibited work in Rome and Milan. In early 1960s, back in Argentina, he began to make wire sculptures and written drawings. During his fifteen-year exile in Brazil from 1976 to 1985, he experimented with a great range of media and art practices, from sculptures, drawings, etchings, collages of pictures and bird excrement, and sound-making sculptures (berimbau) to mail art, videotext, and photocopy. By the 1990s he produced his so-called “deformed calligraphies,” written paintings and electronic art, along with collages that skillfully combined Christian iconography, contemporary events, oriental erotica, and texts in Braille. Ferrari’s work often expresses a provocative social and political critique against war, Christianity, abuses of power, the West’s moral double standards, and the bourgeois character of art institutions....

Article

Vanina Costa

(b Sauve, Gard, Jan 17, 1926; d les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, nr Périgueux, Dec 2, 1987).

French performance artist, conceptual artist and writer. He studied economics and science at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1948 to 1951, but he was self-taught as an artist. Having first worked as a playwright during the second half of the 1950s, in 1960 he presented the first of his performances incorporating poetry. By 1962 he was involved with the Fluxus movement; sharing his fellow artists’ distaste for marketable art objects, he not only continued to create performances and other ephemeral works but also involved himself in conceptual gestures such as the foundation of a ‘République Géniale’. He made films and videos, sent enigmatic objects through the post as a form of correspondence art and worked against traditional ideas about the individuality of the artist by working collaboratively with others: in 1964 he and Joachim Pfeufer created the Poïpoïdrome, a group researching ‘permanent creation’ and the ‘principle of equivalence’, and in ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Northampton, March 4, 1945; d Feb 13, 2014).

English sculptor. She studied at Northampton School of Art, Ravensborne College of Art, and Chelsea School of Art. Finn-Kelcey’s work was profoundly shaped by the concerns of British conceptual art of the early 1970s, which she continued to address even if the mediums through which she did so changed over the years. One of her earliest works comprised a series of flags, which she referred to as ‘wind-blown objects’, flown from prominent locations as a way of drawing attention not to themselves but to the elements around them: Fog (1971; see 1992–3 exh. cat.) was one such. Performance and the idea of ‘vacated’ performance (created without actors or the artist being present) were always important to her. One of her earliest works, One for Sorrow, Two for Joy (first performed London, Acme Gal., 1976; see 1992–3 exh. cat.) involved trying to converse with a magpie; this soon led to a series of other works involving magpies. In the early 1980s her work often conveyed allegories of power: ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Karachi, Pakistan, April 18, 1968).

British film maker, installation artist and conceptual artist of Pakistani birth, active in England. She completed a BFA at Goldsmiths’ College, London, between 1991 and 1994. For her degree show she created Pushed/Pulled (1994; see 1998 exh. cat.), changing the door panels at the entrance to the college’s studios so that they read ‘Pushed’ and ‘Pulled’ rather than ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’. This kind of conceptual slippage is typical of Floyer’s work. In Light (1994; Berne, Ksthalle), a disconnected lightbulb is illuminated by the beams from four slide projectors; the blandly descriptive title, like the work itself, is both truthful and paradoxically misleading, undermining the viewer’s expectations of the object’s functionality. Floyer uses these dislocations to produce situations in which viewers are made to feel very selfconscious about what they should be seeing, often using projections as a means of producing apparent displacements of objects or sounds. In the video ...

Article

Ađalsteinn Ingólfsson

(b Dalir, west Iceland, Feb 19, 1943).

Icelandic painter, sculptor, photographer and conceptual artist, active in the Netherlands. He studied at the Myndlista- og handíÐaskóli Íslands (Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts), Reykjavík (1958–60), in Rome (1966–7) and in Limoges (1970–71), after which he moved to the Netherlands. He was one of the founding members of the Icelandic avant-garde group SÚM and he took part in its first exhibition in 1965. His early work consists of emblematic abstract paintings, enlivened with three-dimensional elements such as nails or rope (e.g. Painting; 1966, Reykjavík, N.G.). When he developed an interest in conceptual art, FriÐfinnsson began to use photography as a medium for concretizing his ideas, which derive from Icelandic myth and folklore as well as from dreams and poetry.

FriÐfinnsson’s House Project (1974) was suggested by a story by the Icelandic writer Thórbergur ThórÐarson about an old man who wanted to build an inside-out house. FriÐfinnsson built a house that fitted this description at a secret venue in Iceland and then photographed it (see ...

Article

Pauline I. A. Bullard

(b London, July 21, 1946).

English photographer and conceptual artist. He studied sculpture at St Martin’s School of Art, London, from 1966 to 1968, at the same time as Jan Dibbets, Barry Flanagan, Gilbert and George, John Hilliard, Richard Long and Bruce McLean, and at the Royal College of Art, London, from 1968 to 1969. Basing his work on long-distance walks lasting from one day to several weeks, Fulton recorded his physical and emotional experience of the landscape by photographing it in black-and-white with a 35 mm camera; in typical works such as Slioch Hilltop Cairn/Circling Buzzards (2 photographs, each 118.1×87.6 mm, 1980; London, Tate), he then presented a single photograph or sequence of photographs, usually printed on a large scale and in a rich tonal range, often in conjunction with printed captions. These texts sometimes describe prosaic matters, such as the length, duration or date of the walk or the weather conditions under which the walk was made; in other cases a sequence of words evokes a poetic mood particular to the walk, enabling the spectator to bring to the work his or her own feelings, glimpses, memories and encounters with landscape. While his work has been linked both to conceptual art and land art, Fulton saw himself as heir to British traditions of landscape painting. His work was perhaps most widely disseminated in his books....

Article

Canadian partnership of conceptual artists working as performance artists, video artists, photographers and sculptors. It was formed in 1968 by A. A. Bronson [pseud. of Michael Tims] (b Vancouver, 1946), Felix Partz [pseud. of Ron Gabe] (b Winnipeg, 1945) and Jorge Zontal [pseud. of Jorge Saia] (b Parma, Italy, 1944; d Feb 1994). Influenced by semiotics and working in various media, they sought to examine and subvert social structures, taking particular interest in the products of mass culture. Their existence as a group, each with an assumed name, itself undermined the traditional notion of the solitary artist of genius. In 1972 they began publishing a quarterly journal, File, to publicize their current interests and work. In the 1970s they concentrated on beauty parades, starting in 1970 with the 1970 Miss General Idea Pageant, a performance at the Festival of Underground Theatre in Toronto that mocked the clichés surrounding the beauty parade, resulting in the nomination of Miss General Idea ...

Article

Margherita Abbozzo Heuser

(b Scandiano, Reggio Emilia, Jan 5, 1943; d Roncocesi, Reggio Emilia, Feb 14, 1992).

Italian photographer. He became interested in photography in 1970, when he began to take pictures in collaboration with conceptual artists. From 1972 his images were widely exhibited and published both at home and abroad. His use of colour to create surprising images out of everyday life and common surroundings combined acute wit with formal elegance. A major figure in post-war Italian photography, he published several books, including ...

Article

Anthony Gardner

(b Singapore, July 12, 1959).

Malaysian conceptual artist, active also in Australia. Gill studied at the University of Western Sydney, completing her MA in 2001. Despite working in a range of media, she is best understood as a process-based artist who has consistently explored notions of migration and transformation within material culture. These include the effects of international trade on such everyday activities as cooking and eating. The spiral form of Forking Tongues (1992; Brisbane, Queensland A.G.), for example, entwines Western cutlery and dried chillies from the Americas and Asia, highlighting how foods and utensils from across the globe have come together to transform local cuisines and inform culinary habits. Gill’s later photographic series refer to other understandings of migration, such as the spread of the English language or of capitalist desire throughout South-east Asia in recent decades. For Forest (1998; Sydney, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery; see Chua), Gill cut out words and sentences from books written in English, placed the texts within tropical landscapes and photographed the results before the books’ paper began rotting into the humid environment. For ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Aylesbury, April 13, 1964).

English conceptual artist. He studied at Hertfordshire College of Art (1983–4) and Goldsmiths’ College, London (1984–7). Gillick characterized his early work as ‘displacement activity’, a method of working that was parallel to certain professional methods but that opened their processes to question. His first exhibition (London, Karsten Schubert Gal., 1989) demonstrated this device in relation to architecture: using a computer programme, Gillick produced a series of drawings for buildings that were deliberately faulty or unworkable as architecture. In the early 1990s he launched a similar project with photographer Henry Bond (b 1966) in which they operated as a news team in order to examine the procedures behind news-gathering; the result became the series Documents (1991). Following these works, Gillick began to produce art in the form of scripts and text-based proposals, sometimes in book form, though related works also emerged from them: ...

Article

Michael Turner

(b Cluj, Romania, Jan 21, 1947).

Israeli conceptual sculptor. After studying at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem (1966–9) he completed his studies (1969–72) at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Milan. He returned to Israel in 1978, intent on cutting his connections with the Western mainstream to develop an artistic language based on a strong conceptual attitude and opposed to the then dominant trend towards figurative painting. This language was conceived as parallel to textual expressions being formulated at that time in Italy. The relationship between object and text subsequently became more intricate, with the object becoming a syntactical language transforming the text as an interpreter. Although having deliberate echoes of Russian Constructivist structures, Goldstein’s works are not characterized by a stylistic approach, but build on the exchange of conflicting and parallel ideas. In 1978 he began teaching at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. From this time he used metaphor in its most abstract sense, in order to propose that artists on the periphery, outside Europe and the USA, could give new forms to geographical, social and artistic works. Goldstein defined the three main categories of his work in the ...

Article

Ewa Mikina

(b Bydgoszcz, Pomerania, Nov 14, 1932).

Polish conceptual artist. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, in 1953–9. His earliest work draws on his experience of Minimalism and Op art. The series Optical Objects (1958–65), for example, geometrical reliefs modelled according to mathematical calculations and painted in a range of tones from white to grey to black, exploits both natural and artificial effects of light and shade. Environment (1968), an assembly of solid three-dimensional forms, could be seen simultaneously as a unified structure and as a collection of individual ‘works’, and it was on the periphery of architecture, sculpture and painting.

In 1970 Gostomski conceived the piece It Begins in Wrocław, an ‘impossible’ project, in which three arbitrarily selected forms, beginning in a defined point in the centre of Wrocław, were to spread out in an equally arbitrary manner through the city, the continent, the globe, and eventually into galactic infinity. In ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Vancouver, BC, Jan 16, 1949).

Canadian conceptual artist. He studied at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (1968–71), but did not complete a degree. Much of Graham’s early work sprang from an interest in the Romantic landscape and the way in which its image has often been used to bolster notions of individuality and creative inspiration. Camera Obscura (1979; see 1998 exh. cat., p. 4) is the first of a number of large, outdoor viewing chambers which explore these themes. This piece, first installed in a farmer’s field, reproduced (upside-down) the image of a nearby oak tree. His interest in dramatizing the means of representation continued in his first film, Two Generators (1984; see 1999 exh. cat., figs. 2 and 19), which depicted a nocturnal landscape illuminated by spotlights driven by noisy and distracting generators. Both of these works reflect Graham’s interest in the work of Robert Smithson, but another important influence on him, Marcel Duchamp, inspired a very different interrogation of the development of Modernism. ...

Article

revised by Margaret Barlow

(b Pittsfield, MA, Dec 23, 1939; d New York, Oct 21, 1995).

American conceptual artist. While studying English literature at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, Graves received a fellowship in painting to the Yale–Norfolk Summer School. From 1961 to 1964 she studied fine art at Yale University, New Haven, CT, and in 1964 received a Fulbright–Hayes grant in painting to study in Paris. In 1966 she moved to New York, where she established a studio. Her first solo exhibition was in 1968 at the Graham Gallery, and later she became the first woman artist to have a solo retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her work is founded on 20th-century conceptual discourses on art and draws on a wide range of sciences, including anatomy, palaeontology, anthropology, computer mapping, psychology and perception. Her curiosity for many subjects was a consistent feature in works that include drawings, paintings, installations, sculptures and film. She became renowned for her first figurative pieces, for example Camel VIII...

Article

Horacio Safons

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 14, 1915; d Barcelona, Oct 14, 1965).

Argentine painter, sculptor, performance artist, conceptual artist, poet and illustrator. After studying in Buenos Aires at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes and with Cecilia Marcovich and Tomás Maldonado, he quickly established a reputation for his scandalous views, attracting extreme disapproval and equally strong support. After delivering a lecture at the Juan Cristóbal bookshop, Buenos Aires, entitled ‘Alberto Greco y los pájaros’ he was briefly imprisoned for his ‘Communism and subversive acts’. On his release in the same year he travelled to Paris on a French government grant, selling drawings and watercolours in the cafés and studying painting with Fernand Léger and printmaking with Johnny Friedlaender. Between 1956 and 1958 he lived in São Paulo, where he became aware of Art informel; he painted in this style in the late 1950s and early 1960s (Glusberg, pp. 284–5).

As early as 1959, when he had returned from São Paulo to Buenos Aires, Greco had expressed his corrosive vision of society through the form of his work. In his shows he exhibited tree trunks and rags for cleaning window gratings or floors. He moved again to Paris in ...

Article

Ađalsteinn Ingólfsson and John Steen

[Gudmundsson]

Icelandic family of conceptual artists.

Ađalsteinn Ingólfsson

(b Snœfellsnes, West Iceland, June 1, 1941).

He trained as a pilot and was self-taught as an artist. In the 1960s and 1970s he lived in the Netherlands, the USA and Spain. He had his first one-man show in Reykjavík in 1968. He was introduced to Concrete poetry and the Fluxus movement by Dieter Roth, and by 1969 he had evolved a version of Arte Povera, which he showed at the first exhibitions of the avant-garde group SÚM. After moving to Amsterdam in 1970 he renewed his acquaintance with the minimalist art of Malevich, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni and the De Stijl group and began to take an interest in Dutch conceptual art, which was generally more lyrical and less dogmatic. Throughout the 1970s GuÐmundsson created minimal works embodying abstract or unfathomable concepts such as time, space, sound and energy. Typical of his early conceptual works are the ...

Article

Peter A. Nagy

(b Bombay, Aug 26, 1976).

Indian conceptual artist. Gupta studied sculpture at the Sir J.J. School of Art in Bombay, graduating in 1997. Gupta was the Indian artist who most explicitly embraced digital and web-based art practice. Her first work to gain wide attention in India was Untitled (2002), a video of the artist in multiple, watching the viewer in a confrontational and provocative manner. Her works address the manipulation of the lower classes through religion, politics or commerce, often employing irony and humour. Gupta created websites as art works, addressing subjects such as the exploitation of labour in diamond mines (Diamonds and You, 2000), romantic and matrimonial connections fostered by the internet (Sentiment-Express.com, 2001) and an ironic take on pan-religious devotion (Blessed-Bandwidth.net, 2003, commissioned by Tate Modern, London). In each work, the artist used the anonymity that cyber-space provides to focus on societal changes of behaviour and the redefinition of artistic possibilities....

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b London, 1960).

English conceptual artist, installation artist, film maker and photographer. He studied at Middlesex Polytechnic (1981–5) and at Chelsea School of Art (MFA, 1989–90). Gussin’s earliest work exhibited a preoccupation with the representation and experience of the natural landscape, which led him increasingly to the Romantic tradition. Ventilated Landscape No. 11 (1990; see Frieze, Summer 1991, p. 12) is an important early work that addresses the gap between the image of the inviting idyll and the experience of it: the piece comprised an image of a mountain landscape suspended in a small vitrine, in front of which were two small plastic ventilator holes taken from a mattress. He often contrasted the technical means of measuring the world with the wonder it inspires, as in Everything Available, September 1992 (1992; see 1993 exh. cat.), a long list, painted on the wall of the gallery, of all the instruments sold in one month’s edition of an astonomy magazine. Gussin also considered the way in which ideal landscapes are evoked, often to make the most mundane surroundings seem charmed. In ...

Article

Eva Meyer-Hermann

(b Cologne, Aug 12, 1936).

German painter and conceptual artist, active in the USA. He studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Kassel from 1956 to 1960, and during this period he painted pictures in a style close to Tachism, working on the visualization of movement. He also worked on examinations of colour fields, and in 1960–61 he spent a year in S. W. Hayter’s Atelier 17 in Paris. While there he was brought into contact with the work of Yves Klein and the Zero group. He stayed in touch with Zero until 1965, and this was revealed in his work through a demonstration of optical phenomena that is more objective than romantic. In 1961–2 he received a Fulbright Scholarship and studied at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, spending the remainder of 1962 in New York. From 1963 to 1965 he had a number of teaching posts in Germany, first at Kettwig, then at Düsseldorf, but he returned to the USA in ...

Article

Annie Dell’Aria

American painter, sculptor, conceptual artist, writer and curator. Hammond became active in feminist and lesbian art circles following her move to New York in 1969 after receiving her BA from the University of Minnesota in 1967. Hammond soon co-founded the feminist cooperative gallery AIR in ...