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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

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

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

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

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

[Gerardus Johannes Maria]

(b Weert, May 9, 1941).

Dutch photographer and conceptual artist. From 1959 to 1963 he trained as an art teacher at the Akademie Bouwkunst in Tilburg, while at the same time taking painting lessons with Jan Gregoor in Eindhoven from 1961 to 1963. He had his first one-man show in 1965 at Galerie 845 in Amsterdam. He then taught in Enschede until 1967 when he studied at the St Martin’s School of Art in London on a British Council scholarship. Until then he had produced monochrome, Minimalist paintings and was influenced by Mondrian, Vermeer and Pieter Saenredam, but after the period in London he worked primarily with photography. He began with a series called Perspective Corrections (1967–9), characterized by optical effects. In Perspective Correction—My Studio II, I: Square on Floor (1969; Amsterdam, Stedel. Mus.), for example, he placed a white trapezium on the floor of his studio. He then photographed it from an angle that made it appear square and consequently detached from its surroundings....

Article

Zachary Baker

(b Kent, Oct 4, 1966; d Scotland, March 29, 2008).

English conceptual artist, photographer, painter and installation artist. He is associated primarily with the Goldsmiths’ College group, sometimes known as the ‘Freeze Generation’, which emerged in the late 1980s during Michael Craig-Martin’s period of teaching there. In February 1988, as a second year student, Fairhurst organized a small group exhibition at the Bloomsbury Gallery of the University of London Institute of Education; it included, alongside his own work, art by fellow students Mat Collishaw, Abigail Lane and Damien Hirst. This was a kind of precursory event for the more dynamic and famous Freeze exhibition of summer 1988, curated by Hirst, in which he also participated. In the early 1990s he was involved in many seminal events and exhibitions such as A Fête worse than Death (1993), on Charlotte Road and Rivington Street, London, curated by Joshua Compston (1971–96) and Factual Nonsense, and Some Went Mad, Some Ran Away...

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

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

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

Morgan Falconer

revised by Jean Robertson

(b Brussels, Dec 6, 1961).

Belgian sculptor, installation and conceptual artist active in Germany and Sweden. He studied phytopathology (plant diseases) and agronomic entomology at the University of Kiel, where he received a doctorate in 1988. After an early career as an agricultural scientist specializing in insect communication, Höller became a full-time artist in 1993. He created a wide variety of objects and situations, many of them participatory in nature, using such means as toys, animals, flashing lights, mirrors, sensory deprivation tanks, dark passages, giant slides, carousel rides, pheromones and huge rotating sculptural replicas of upside-down fly agaric (a poisonous, hallucinogenic mushroom; see fig.). His art projects include various optical and sensory experiments that explore individual physiological and psychological reactions to experiences that alter perception and consciousness. Despite his scientific training, Höller’s goals as an artist have not been to achieve the certainty of quantifiable scientific conclusions. Rather he has emphasized doubt and the inability to achieve conclusive explanations. He signalled his preoccupation with doubt in ...

Article

Mary Chou

(b Bethlehem, 1970).

Palestinian conceptual artist. Jacir’s works use a variety of media including film, photography, installation, performance, video, sound, sculpture and painting. Jacir was raised in Saudi Arabia and attended high school in Rome, Italy. She received her BA from the University of Dallas, Irving, TX in 1992, her MFA from the Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN in 1994, and participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program from 1998 to 1999. She became a professor at the International Academy of Art, Palestine in Ramallah in 2007. Jacir’s conceptual works explore the physical and psychological effects of social and political displacement and exile, primarily how they affect the Palestinian community. Her work investigated the impact of Israeli action on the Palestinian people and countered representations of Palestinians in the press as primarily militant. Jacir often collaborated with members of the Palestinian community, both local and international, in the creation of her works....

Article

Jeff Fleming

(b Göttingen, 1968).

German conceptual artist. Jankowski studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg. Working in video, film, photography, installation, and performance, he reinserted ritual and its intrinsic mystery into the creative act and, subsequently, into the act of viewing a work of art. For the artist, ritual enabled the recognition of a specific world view and built a site where dialogue could take place between different people or different belief systems. Jankowski arrived at this point of recognition through his transformative use of collaboration, a circular method of creation, the utilization of magic or wonder, and humour. By making clear these devices in his art, Jankowski enabled the viewer to experience an ‘aha’ moment, or a climatic ‘Big Wow’, a phrase coined by Walt Disney to describe the high point on an amusement park ride or the big, concluding special effect in a movie. These approaches, together with Jankowski’s use of popular forms of mass culture, provided a critique of the detached nature of contemporary art production and positioned Jankowski as one of the most thought-provoking image makers of his time....

Article

Hripsimé Visser

(b Breda, Oct 26, 1946).

Dutch photographer and conceptual artist. He first trained as a carpenter before studying at the academy in Breda (1963–5). From 1970 to 1980 he specialized in photographs of volatile and ephemeral materials such as smoke or shadow, which he referred to as ‘photo-sculptures’. Like other conceptual artists in the late 1960s, he used photography to create personal worlds and to visualize ideas rather than to record reality. The photograph Untitled (1979; see 1983 exh. cat., p. 159) shows a man crouching on a table that he is sawing in half; on either side of him are a telescope and a microscope. Inherent in the image are attitudes to death, suicide and existence, and the relationship between art and science. Language has been important for Mol in all the media in which he has worked, and his works are often titled in English. In 1985 he produced a series of works on the theme of ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Reggio nell’Emilia, 1940).

Italian conceptual, video and installation artist. He studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Venice and in 1968 began to make conceptual works using water as the key element. These photo documents and experimental videos, such as Reflecting Water (1979; see 1998 exh. cat., p. 41), used water as a symbolic substance, a motif that has continued throughout his career. In the mid-1980s, Plessi began to make large-scale video installations: Roma (1987; exh. at Documeta 8, Kassel) consisted of a circle of video monitors with a conveyor belt dropping imaginary stones into the image of water on the monitors, the stones becoming ‘visible’ as they appeared falling into the water, with the sound of splashing continuing the illusion. This playing with video imagery to evoke actual movement or reflection is central to Plessi’s manipulation of the viewer’s expectations. During the late 1980s and 1990s, Plessi travelled widely, an experience that informed many of his video installations during this period, such as ...

Article

(b Groningen, July 1, 1942).

Dutch conceptual artist, film maker and television actor. He started to experiment with different coloured smoke in 1957. From the 1960s he was active as a Fluxus composer. In 1961 with Ger van Elk and the photographer Bob Wesdorp he founded the Adynamische Groep, which primarily reacted against post-war Expressionism. In 1962 he was given an exhibition at the Fodor Museum, Amsterdam, for which he covered the floor of a room with a 100 mm layer of salt and another with a few tonnes of broken glass. In pursuit of performance art, in 1963 he instigated a happening: he emptied a bottle of lemonade in the sea outside Petten, an action broadcast by Dutch television. In the same year he made a television programme about contemporary art (e.g. Fluxus, Pop art, Zero). Also in 1963 the fire brigade banned the performance of his Economic Concert (1958), which consisted of one single explosion on stage. Two years later he displayed a 5 m high purple chair in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam and organized an exhibition called ...

Article

Martin Heller

(b Basle, May 16, 1945).

Swiss painter, conceptual artist and installation artist. After training as a photographer he had his first successes exhibiting works on panels derived from Pop art (1967–9). These were followed by further conceptual works and installations. In 1969 he had his first one-man show at the Galerie Toni Gerber, Berne, and made important contributions to the exhibitions When Attitudes Become Form, held in 1969 at the Kunsthalle, Berne, and Documenta 5 in Kassel, Germany, in 1972. In 1971 he began to paint while continuing to produce three-dimensional objects (e.g. Amore; see 1986 exh. cat.). In these early works his affinity with popular and dilettante aesthetics, kitsch, trivia, and ‘do-it-yourself’ bricolage is evident. As a summation of such interests, in 1976–8 he created Apocalypso, an enormous picture on fabric that he considered a kind of ‘world view’. In the 1980s Schnyder systematically expanded and intensified his knowledge of painting and revived such traditional genres as animal painting and, particularly, landscape painting. Several small-scale series (e.g. ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Macclesfield, Ches, Sept 18, 1968).

English conceptual artist, draughtsman, photographer, sculptor, painter and installation artist. He studied at the Glasgow School of Art between 1988 and 1991, graduating with a BFA. The concentration in the course on environmental art influenced Shrigley in his presentation of absurd sculptures and notices, as in Leisure Centre (1991; see M. Bracewell, p. 50). Here a small white box with the words ‘Leisure Centre’ written on it is pictured apparently abandoned on a piece of parkland by a road. During the 1990s Shrigley attracted particular attention with his drawings, some of which he published in small runs through his own Armpit Press ( see fig. ). His drawings and accompanying texts are a surreal mixture of mundane observations, ridiculous rules and regulations and violent encounters. These range from a quiz to distinguish television sets from microwaves, which he published in his artist’s book Err (London, 1996), to a comic strip about putting a man in a sack and burning him, under the title ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Worcester, 1949).

English conceptual artist, photograher and collagist. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, from 1967 to 1971. Stezaker always worked with the camera, yet his art, emerging out of the conceptual art movement of the 1970s, was shaped more by questions about the politics of representation than the history of photography. His earliest work often employed found popular imagery to examine the construction of stereotypes, and the ways in which the dominant ideology is naturalized through the construction of something designated as ‘reality’. I (1974; see 1979 exh. cat., p. 3) suggests this in its juxtaposition of a car advertisement with a passage from Sigmund Freud. This early use of captions was abandoned in 1976, often in favour of collage: Enter… (Exit)… the Third Person (A Domestic Allegory) (1976; see 1978 exh. cat., pp. 53–5) is typical of the period: its fragments depict an obscure scene involving a woman and a sexually predatory man; large sections of the tableau remain blank, while some of the elements are connected by extended white lines. In the late 1980s Stezaker began to produce large silkscreened images, again with collaged elements. These seemed of a more allegorical cast than his earlier work, combining motifs such as owls, tyres, moons and ships in mysterious juztapositions, often framed by pieces of bark. His work in the 1990s suggested a return to his theoretical interests of the 1970s: ...