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Daniel Buren (born 25 March 1938 in Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine) is a French conceptual artist.

In 1986 he created a 3,000 m² sculpture in the great courtyard of the Palais Royal, in Paris: "Les Deux Plateaux", more commonly referred to as the "Colonnes de Buren" ("Buren's Columns"). This provoked an intense debate over the integration of contemporary art and historic buildings.

Daniel Buren's A Rainbow in the Sky, detail

Daniel Buren's A Rainbow in the Sky, detail

Agent: artist: Daniel Buren (French, 1938-)
Title: A Rainbow in the Sky, detail
Work Date: 2009
Materials: 2,268 colorful striped flags suspended over a pedestrian square
Style or Period: Twenty-first century, Contemporary
Work Location: One Colorado Courtyard, Pasadena, California, United States
Work Measurements: 61 sq ft

Sometimes classified as an abstract minimalist he is known best for using regular, contrasting maxi stripes to integrate the visual surface and architectural space, notably historical, landmark architecture.

Among his chief concerns is the ‘scene of production’ as a way of presenting art and highlighting facture (the process of ‘making’ rather than for example, mimesis or representation of anything but the work itself). The work is site specific installation, having a relation to its setting in contrast to prevailing ideas of a work of art standing alone.

In the late 1960s Buren hit on the mark that connected him with ideas of space and presentation arising through deconstructionist philosophies backgrounding the May 1968 student demonstrations in France.

Working in situ (on site), he strives to contextualise his artistic practice using the stripe - a popular French fabric motif - a means of visually relating art to its situation, a form of language in space rather than a space in itself. He began producing unsolicited public art works using striped awning canvas common in France. The stripe is a standard 8.7 cm wide. Denoting the trademark stripes as a visual instrument or ‘seeing tool’ he invites us to take up his critical standpoint challenging traditional ideas about art.

He started by setting up hundreds of striped posters around Paris and later in more than 100 metro stations, drawing public attention through these unauthorised bandit style acts. In another controversial gesture he blocked the entrance of the gallery with stripes at his first solo exhibition.

As a conceptual artist, he was regarded as visually and spatially audacious, objecting to traditional ways of presenting art through the museum/gallery system while at the same time growing in hot demand to show via the system.

By the ’70s and ’80s he was exhibiting in Europe, America and Japan. In 1986 when François Mitterrand was President, he attained leading artist status after a contentious work in the Palais Royal court, Paris (see details above). That same year, he represented France at the Venice Biennale and won the Golden Lion Award.

Often referred to as ‘the stripe guy’ Buren also expresses his theme in paint, laser cut fabric, light boxes, transparent fabrics and ceramic cup sets. His stripes are displayed in private homes, public places and museums worldwide.

In 2007 Buren was awarded the Praemium Imperiale. He was one of the five artists shortlisted for the Angel of the South project in January 2008.

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