"No Man's Land" Makes Us Feel Sadder And Happier All At Once

by SUSANNAH LONG · May 27, 2010

The New Yorker has just published nifty photos of French artist Christian Boltanski puttering around the cavernous Park Avenue Armory choosing items from a 30-ton heap of discarded clothing. Finally, an art installation that makes us feel better about our own closets . . .[Photo courtesty of The New Yorker ]

Boltanski's installation, "No Man's Land," features a wall of biscuit tins, thousands of items of clothing, a 60-foot-crane, and recorded human heartbeats. Woah.

[Photos courtesty of The New Yorker ]

Since the artist has been exploring themes of anonymity and death for more than 40 years, he's probably a major bummer to hang out with and observe carefully moving clothes around, right? Mais non! According to NYer photog Gus Powell, "He was without a doubt one of the most delightful and gentlest of gentlemen I have ever met." Powell adds that Boltanski's careful clothing-selection process reminds him of Monsieur Hulot, the bumbling French comic character. Awwww.

[Photo courtesty of The New Yorker ]

Hulot and Boltanski . . . we can see the resemblance. Put a pipe in your mouth, Christian!

If you want to get closer to the kindly monsieur, you can visit the exhibit (open through June 13th) and offer him your own heartbeat recording; he's soliciting them for his Archives du coeur stockpile.