Boltanski, Christian. Monuments: Leçons de Ténèbres. [ Paris ]: L’Association Française d’Action Artistique (Ministère des Affaires Etrangères). [1986.]
In Monuments: Leçons de Ténèbres (Monuments: Lessons of Darkness), Christian Boltanski collects full-page black-and-white portrait photos of students from Lentillères College for Secondary Education in Dijon circa 1973. Published in conjunction with the artist’s exhibition at the 42nd Venice Biennale in the Palazzo delle Prigione, the book also includes four color photos of the Boltanski’s shrine-like Biennale installation plus one black-and-white photo of the artist’s original 1973 installation of the student photos in the school itself.
In this work, Boltanski tightly cropped the photos and standardized their presentation so that only the faces of the anonymous students are seen. As with many of Boltanski’s photographic installations and books, the approximately 110 photos reproduced in this volume explore the themes of childhood, memory, and mortality. The photos are introduced with a text by Suzanne Pagé and an explanatory note by the artist, both of which are printed in French, Italian, and English.
This volume is presented in a softcover sewn binding with textured cardstock covers. It was printed by Jacques Tillie in Rosendaël lez-Dunkerque. Laurent Sauerwein created the English translation, and Giovanni Careri completed the Italian translation.
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