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b. 1969, Belgium

David Claerbout Biography

Throughout his career, the Belgian artist David Claerbout has investigated the conceptual impact of the passage of time through his use of video and digital photography. As scholar David Green has explained, 'Claerbout's work subtly proposes a relationship of similitude between film and the objective world that lies outside and beyond the narrative space of cinema. In doing so he poses a set of questions about how we experience film and about the nature of the medium itself.'

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Specifically, Claerbout manipulates both moving and still imagery to suggest an otherworldly level of existence, something that might refer to a specific place or event, but the timeline of which is not clear, oscillating between both past and present. The element of sound is critical in many of the works, often used as either a narrative device or a 'guide' for the viewer to navigate the architectural space in the film. Claerbout's oeuvre is characterised by a meticulous attention to production details, painstakingly created often over a period of years. The resultant works are immersive environments in which the viewer is invited to engage both philosophically and aesthetically.

Claerbout studied at the Nationaal Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp from 1992 to 1995 and participated in the DAAD: Berlin Artists-in-Residence program from 2002 to 2003. Claerbout's work is included in major public collections worldwide, including: Centre Georges Pompidou Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, France; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and many others. He has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions internationally, including: Kunsthalle Mainz, Mainz, Germany, 2013; Secession, Vienna, Austria, 2012; Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2012; SFMOMA, San Francisco, 2011; WIELS, Brussels, Belgium, 2011; De Pont museum of contemporary art, Tilburg, The Netherlands, 2009; Pompidou Center, Paris, France, 2007; Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen, Switzerland, 2008; and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, 2005.

David Claerbout lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium and Berlin, Germany.

Text courtesy Sean Kelly.

David Claerbout Featured Artworks

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The pure Necessity (unemployed bear) by David Claerbout contemporary artwork
David ClaerboutThe pure Necessity (unemployed bear), 2017Washed ink, pencil, acrylic paint on paper
66.5 x 102 cm
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle Enquire about this work
The pure Necessity by David Claerbout contemporary artwork
David ClaerboutThe pure Necessity, 2017Washed ink, pencil, acrylic paint, tape, on paper on cardboard
20 x 32.5 cm
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle Enquire about this work
Olympia (the real time disintegration into ruins of the Berlin Olympic stadium over the course of a thousand years) (Horizontal) by David Claerbout contemporary artwork
David ClaerboutOlympia (the real time disintegration into ruins of the Berlin Olympic stadium over the course of a thousand years) (Horizontal), 2016Single channel video installation, colour, silent, HD animation on 95 inch diagonal screen
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle Enquire about this work
The pure necessity by David Claerbout contemporary artwork
David ClaerboutThe pure necessity, 2016Single channel, colour, 2D animation, stereo sound, 50 min
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle Enquire about this work
the "confetti" piece by David Claerbout contemporary artwork
David Claerboutthe "confetti" piece, 2015–2018Double channel video projection, 3D animation, silent, colour, 18 minutes 25 seconds
Sean Kelly Enquire about this work
Breathing Bird by David Claerbout contemporary artwork
David ClaerboutBreathing Bird, 2012Two channel video on flatscreens (19"), colour, silent
Sean Kelly Enquire about this work
Olympia (Nothing Romantic) by David Claerbout contemporary artwork
David ClaerboutOlympia (Nothing Romantic), 2017inkjet print, collage, tape, washed ink, acrylic paint, felt pen and pencil on cardboard
24 x 44.88 inches
Sean Kelly Enquire about this work
Die reine Notwendigkeit/The pure necessity by David Claerbout contemporary artwork
David ClaerboutDie reine Notwendigkeit/The pure necessity, 2016single channel video, HD animation, color, stereo sound, 60 minutes, looped
Sean Kelly Enquire about this work

David Claerbout Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, David Claerbout, Die Reine Notwendigkeit / The Pure Necessity at Sean Kelly, New York
Closed
27 October–16 December 2017 David Claerbout Die Reine Notwendigkeit / The Pure Necessity Sean Kelly, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, David Claerbout, LIGHT/WORK at Sean Kelly, New York
Closed
19 March–30 April 2016 David Claerbout LIGHT/WORK Sean Kelly, New York

David Claerbout Represented By

David Claerbout In Ocula Magazine

Bob Rennie Ocula Conversation Bob Rennie By Anna Dickie, Hong Kong

In Vancouver's Chinatown, an area wedged between the gleaming office towers of the city's affluent West End and the city’s poorest neighbourhood, Downtown Eastside, is a gallery showcasing work from one of the world’s leading private collections. Housed in a restored iteration of Chinatown’s oldest building, the...

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David Claerbout In Related Press

David Claerbout: The silence of the lens Related Press David Claerbout: The silence of the lens 15 May 2016, e-flux

Photography is currently undergoing the sort of transformation that music went through roughly fifteen years ago. This transition was a major shift for musicians but was generally considered positive by the listeners. For those young photographers keen on knowing how their profession will evolve, I would suggest they look at the music industry of...

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David Claerbout 'LIGHT/WORK' at Sean Kelly Related Press David Claerbout 'LIGHT/WORK' at Sean Kelly 27 April 2016, Art Critical

It can be curious to find digital images in video: Jurassic Park (1993) still looks pretty sharp, while pixelated objects in more recent monster or action movies can stick out like a sore thumb. David Claerbout’s current show at Sean Kelly, his first at the gallery and his first in New York in eight years, plays both. His 2015–16 video...

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David Claerbout at Sean Kelly Related Press David Claerbout at Sean Kelly 16 April 2016, Art in America

David Claerbout installs scrims to angle out from the wall so that his digital projections fall across them like afternoon sunlight slanting through a window. The placement prompts viewers to actively walk around the images as they observe them, the constant movement mirroring the artist’s play with motion and stillness. 

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