Daniel Buren

(b. 1938)

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(1938– )

French painter and installation artist. He was born in Boulogne-Billancourt and studied in Paris at the École Nationale Supérieure des Métiers d'Art, 1956–60. In 1965 he began painting with pre-printed pieces of linen he found in the Marché St Pierre in Montmartre. These became a standardized type, always white with a single colour in bands 8.7 cms wide, almost in parody of the ‘signature style’ which a successful French painter was expected to adopt. However, Buren was of the generation who established their careers in a situation when the market for Parisian painters had been severely damaged by the successive waves of American art. He was also deeply affected by the political and philosophical debates which surrounded the beginnings of Conceptual art. By using an image that did not change, he exposed not just the work itself but the context in which it was shown, its social identity as well as its visual one. Buren's work is therefore, in the most extreme sense, site-specific, in that it takes its meaning entirely from its situation. The works were often accompanied by verbal statements that explained this thinking. In 1968 the stripes were paraded on boards by sandwich-men in the streets or pasted over posters. In the same year an exhibition in Milan consisted of sealing off the gallery with his distinctive white and green stripes. The motivation behind such work was highly political. Like the Dadaists before him, Buren saw art as the safety valve of a repressive society. The problems which this created for the traditional museum were dramatically revealed by Buren's contribution to the Guggenheim International Exhibition in 1971. Buren's Peinture/Sculpture was his cloth suspended from the ceiling of Frank Lloyd Wright's famous building. Buren considered that the design, architectural masterpiece that it was, tended to distract the viewer's attention from the actual works. He produced a piece that cancelled this effect. The work was removed by the museum authorities after only a few hours, partly as a result of pressure from other artists, especially Dan Flavin, who said that Buren's work was obstructing the view of their own. Buren has continued to work with stripes, the results being increasingly spectacular and concerned with visual appeal as well as political comment. Later work has included the French Pavilion for the 1986 Venice Biennale, widely acclaimed as the most beautiful pavilion that year, and installations at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2005, which he called Eye of the Storm in acknowledgement of the controversy that had surrounded his last exhibition there.

http://www.danielburen.com/ The official website for the artist.

Subjects: Art.

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