Christian Boltanski photographed in his studio in Malakoff, Paris, in January 2018. Courtesy Wallpaper*. Photo: Maciek Pozoga.
'Where are the cameras?' I ask Christian Boltanski as we enter his studio in Malakoff, just outside Paris. He points out several, all feeding live footage to a grotto in Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art. In 2009, David Walsh, the professional gambler, art collector and founder of the museum (see W*141), agreed to pay Boltanski a monthly stipend until the end of the artist's life for the right to film his studio 24 hours a day for an ongoing live video piece entitled The Life of C.B.
Walsh wagered that Boltanski would die within eight years; after that time, Walsh would end up spending more for the work than it was really worth. But those eight years have now passed, and the French sculptor and photographer still shows up on the feed - sitting at his computer, chewing on an unlit pipe, mulling over his next work. 'He would like to see me die in real time,' Boltanski says with a chuckle.