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Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Merseyside, June 23, 1966).

English sculptor and conceptual artist. She studied at Kingston Polytechnic, Surrey (1986–9), and at Goldsmiths’ College of Art in London (1992–3). She had her first solo exhibition at City Racing, London, in 1994, and in the following year was included in General Release: Young British Artists at the XLVI Venice Biennale. Banner came to prominence with her ‘wordscapes’, large text works that recount the plots of feature films or other events. The first of these was Top Gun (pencil on paper, 2.13×4.57 m, 1993), a hand-written account of the film Top Gun presented on a cinematic scale. The ‘wordscapes’ led to the publication in 1997 of The Nam, 1000 pages of continuous text describing the Vietnam war movies Apocalypse Now, Born on the Fourth of July, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Hamburger Hill and The Deer Hunter. This unreadable text points to the excess of violence in such films, the numbing of critical faculties, as well as the mythologizing and fictionalizing framing devices used to interpret historical events. Towards the end of the 1990s she became interested in the implications of punctuation signs, dwelling on their qualities as abstract marks that give structure to text. By selecting a variety of fonts, enlarging the full stop signs to ...

Article

Eduardo Serrano

(b Cartagena, Oct 27, 1945).

Colombian painter, sculptor and conceptual artist. He studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes of the University of Atlántico in Barranquilla, Colombia, from 1958 to 1960, and in Italy from 1966 to 1967 at the University of Perugia. In 1966, under the influence of Pop art, he made the first of a series of collages combining cut-outs of well-known individuals and comic strips with drawn elements. Two years later he added frosty effects and velvet flowers to his interpretations in black and red ink of figures with distorted bodies and the faces of film stars. In 1969 he began to present these in increasingly three-dimensional boxes or glass cases, accompanied by clouds of cotton wool, plastic figures and other additions that combined to make up fantastic or nostalgic scenes, dream-like and surrealist in appearance and tone.

Barrios was among those who introduced conceptual art to Colombia, for example by publishing in newspapers a series of ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Padua, Jan 6, 1960).

Italian sculptor and conceptual artist. He received no formal art training and before beginning to work as an artist in the late 1980s he had been through a variety of jobs, from nurse to cook to mortuary attendant. Seeing art more as a series of interventions than as based on the creation of objects, Cattelan devised comic and absurdist ideas; he has been likened to a jester, and his anarchic streak clearly reveals the influence of Dada. Virtually all of his commissioned work has been made to test rules, regulations and customs in art world institutions, pushing their limits, satirizing them and exposing the power structures that underpin them. Institutional sponsors were typical targets: in 1992 his project Fondazione Oblomov, working through the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, solicited money from donors to provide an artist’s prize, the stipulation being that the artist exhibit no work for a year. In ...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

(b Houston, TX, 1951).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His multimedia works investigate the pathology of contemporary culture. Mel Chin was born and raised in Houston, Texas to parents of Chinese birth and received his BA in 1975 from the Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. The works in Chin’s oeuvre are diverse in both medium and subject, but a consistent undercurrent of social, political, and environmental responsibility runs throughout. Whether a sculpture, film, video game, installation, public project or earthwork, Chin’s artworks consistently targeted a broad spectrum of pressing cultural and ecological interests and spread their message in subtle, if not viral ways.

In the 1980s, Chin produced a number of sculptures that set the stage for his ever-evocative artistic journey. The Extraction of Plenty from What Remains: 1823 (1988–9) is a frequently referenced piece from this period. It is a symbolic encapsulation of the effects of the Monroe Doctrine, referencing the complicated dealings between the US (represented by truncated replicas of White House columns) and Central America (represented by a cornucopia of mahogany branches, woven banana-tree fiber, and a surface layer of hardened blood, mud, and coffee grinds). From the 1990s, however, Chin moved away from strictly gallery-based installations and began creating works that directly engaged contemporary culture in a variety of physical and theoretical landscapes....

Article

James Smalls

(b Somerville, NJ, 1955).

African American sculptor, printmaker, and conceptual artist. He grew up in New Jersey and attended the Boston University School of Fine Arts, the School of Visual Arts and the Art Students League of New York City. Cole is best known for assembling and transforming ordinary domestic objects, such as irons, ironing boards, high-heeled shoes, lawn jockeys, hair dryers, bicycle parts and other discarded appliances and hardware into imaginative and powerful configurations and installations embedded with references to the African American experience and inspired by West African religion, mythology and culture. Visual puns and verbal play characterized his works, thereby creating layered meanings. The objects he chose were often discarded mass-produced American products that had themselves acquired an alternate history through their previous handling and use.

In 1989, he became attracted to the motif of the steam iron both for its form and for its perceived embodiment of the experience and history of the unknown persons who had previously used it. He referred to the earliest versions of these irons as ‘Household Gods’ and ‘Domestic Demons’. With them, he engaged with ideas utilizing not only the found object but also the repetitive scorch mark of the iron arranged in either purely decorative patterns or in such ways as to suggest a face or African mask (...

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

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

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

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

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 ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Jena, East Germany, July 26, 1947).

German sculptor and conceptual artist. After a period studying art in Halle, East Germany, he made an unsuccessful attempt to escape to the West. He was imprisoned, but released to the West after eight months. He then studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich (1974–6) and at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg (1977–83), where he met Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen and studied with Sigmar Polke, under whose influence he began developing his satirical, social-critical practice. His work is characterized by loose, improvisatory constructions using quotidian materials. Throughout the 1980s his work became less directly acerbic and more concerned with questions of meaning, engaging with recent traditions of art practice. In the Bow (bricks on linen, 2.4×1.4×2.5 m, 1998; San Francisco, CA, B. R. Meyer priv. col.) is a ‘painting’ made with bricks, set end-first in a diagonal column in linen, the weight sagging the stretched material at the bottom. The transformation of Minimalist rigour with formal awkwardness points to Herold’s key occupation with instability, informed by his metaphorical interpretation of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Rather than transform these in an oracular manner, as in the work of Joseph Beuys, he often cancels out any higher reading with irreverent humour. ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

Reviser 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

Margaret Barlow

(b Gallipolis, OH, July 29, 1950).

American installation and conceptual artist. Her studies included general art courses at Duke University, Durham, NC (1968–70), and then painting, printmaking, and drawing at the University of Chicago before completing her BFA at Ohio University, Athens (1972). In 1974 she took summer courses at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, entering its MFA programme in 1975 and beginning her first work with language, installation, and public art. Holzer moved to New York in 1977. Her first public works, Truisms (1977–9), appeared in the form of anonymous broadsheets pasted on buildings, walls, and fences in and around Manhattan. Commercially printed in cool, bold italics, numerous one-line statements such as ‘Abuse of power comes as no surprise’ and ‘There is a fine line between information and propaganda’, were meant to be provocative and elicit public debate. Thereafter Holzer used language and the mechanics of late 20th-century communications as an assault on established notions of where art should be shown, with what intention and for whom (e.g. ...

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

Morgan Falconer

(b Airdrie, nr Glasgow, April 28, 1964).

Scottish sculptor and musician. He studied at Glasgow School of Art (1990–94) and emerged in the late 1990s along with a number of conceptual artists associated with Glasgow. While his work was guided intellectually by the legacies of Conceptualism, Situationism and Minimalism, he was also clearly affected by his involvement with rock music. In one of his best-known pieces, Zobop (1999; see 2000 exh. cat.), which was shown in various venues, Lambie covered the floors of galleries in concentric patterns of coloured vinyl tape; the resulting forms depended on the shape of the gallery in which the work was installed. With its zany, psychedelic air, and allusions to LP cover designs, the piece transforms the art gallery into something akin to a disco; in these respects it ostensibly shuns any intellectual content, while nevertheless relating to the heritage of Minimalism and in particular to that movement’s development of horizontal forms in sculpture. In ...

Article

Kristine Stiles

(b Zambesi River, nr Victoria Falls, Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe], Feb 23, 1921; d London, Jan 1, 2006).

British painter, sculptor, conceptual artist, performance artist, video and film maker, of Rhodesian birth. He studied at the Chelsea School of Art, London, from 1946 to 1950. His concern from 1954 was not with the production of art objects as an end in itself but with various processes and consequently with the recording in three dimensions of sequences of events and of patterns of knowledge. In 1958 he introduced torn, overpainted and partly burnt books into assemblages such as Burial of Count Orgaz (1958; London, Tate), followed in 1964 by the first of a series of SKOOB Towers (from ‘books’ spelt backwards), constructed from stacks of venerated tomes such as the Encyclopedia Britannica, which he ignited and burnt. The destruction and parody of systems of knowledge implied in Latham’s work was apparent in 1966, when he organized a party at which guests chewed pages of Clement Greenberg’s book Art and Culture...

Article

Pierre-François Galpin

(b Cincinnati, OH, May 21, 1937).

Pierre-François Galpin

American sculptor, performance and installation artist, and curator.

Marioni was a key figure in the conceptual art movement in the San Francisco Bay Area throughout the 1970s. After attending Cincinnati Art Academy from 1955 to 1959, he moved to San Francisco. Marioni created a large body of work exhibited around the world and in museums’ collections, and promoted fellow artists’ works through exhibitions and magazines. From 1968 to 1971 he was the curator of the Richmond Art Center in Richmond, CA, a northern suburb of San Francisco.

Marioni’s pioneering artworks included One Second Sculpture (1969), an art action in which he released a tightly coiled metal tape-measure into the air, letting it spread to then fall on the ground; the action and its result, between performance, sculpture, and time-based art, encompassed Marioni’s notion of ‘idea-oriented art’. His signature piece The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Los Angeles, CA, Aug 4, 1944).

American sculptor. He did not have a formal art education. McCollum has stated that formative influence in his work included the Fluxus movement of the 1960s and the work of conceptual artists, such as Sol LeWitt and Daniel Buren. In 1975 he moved to New York. Departing from the notion of a work of art as a rare object of unique value, he introduced a procedure of studio manufacture of precast models made in unlimited editions. The series of Perfect Vehicles (exh. New York, Cash–Newhouse Gal., 1986) comprised small versions, cast in solid enhanced plaster (Hydrocal), of larger vessels that were sealed and painted in Moorglo on concrete, and first shown in the 1988 Venice Bienniale. Over 10,000 Individual Works (exh. New York, John Weber Gal., 1987) comprised precise rows of miniature units moulded from found objects, painted in enamel on solid-cast Hydrocal. McCollum scrupulously avoided aspects of ironical parody typical of Pop art. His works were not presented as decorative accessories or social commentary but as physical signs of the mechanical drives of existence—of repetitious behaviour and patterns of market-based relationships. For his ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Leicester, Feb 4, 1969).

English sculptor and painter, active in the USA. Monk came to prominence in the late 1990s for work situated, highly self-consciously, within the tradition of conceptual art. Taking up various strategies that had become popular in the 1960s, such as wall paintings, monochromes, ephemeral sculpture, and photography, his work has been consistently preoccupied with being part of the second generation of the movement. Hence the photographic series None of the Buildings on Sunset Strip reprised Ed Ruscha’s series of 1966, All of the Buildings on Sunset Strip: Monk’s images merely show the turn-offs on the road. While this is intended as a witty homage, it also betrays an anxiety about how to draw on work that was never intended to serve as a model or basis for a continuing movement. This preoccupation with development and appropriation has been furthered in other ways in Monk’s art: in the exhibition at Yvon Lambert, Paris, in ...

Article

Ewa Mikina

(b Kielczewice, nr Lublin, July 5, 1949).

Polish sculptor and conceptual artist. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, from 1971 to 1976. Her works Procession (1974), featuring sowings of motherwort on a suit of clothes, Cradle (1975), on the flat of the hand, and on a 70 m Easter tapestry or carpet for the church in her native Kielczewice (1974), are meditative in character and draw on the fundamental laws of nature and the elements, the life-giving qualities of water and the transformational power of the sun’s light. Sculpture for the Earth (1974; Ubbenboga, Sweden) contains a hemisphere hollowed out in the earth, juxtaposed with a hemispherical mound. Negative and positive are reiterated in cross-section by graphic Yin and Yang symbols. In the next Sculpture for the Earth (begun 1976) a simple geometric quadrilateral encloses the source of a river; two of its sides pass into the side of a mountain, while the other two form a clay wall. The essence of ...