Charles Simonds

Artist (1945)

Charles Simonds has been a major figure on the international arts scene for the last fifty years. A prolific creator, close to the American environmentalist artists and those involved in Land Art, such as Robert Smithson, he has built an original and powerful body of work through sculpture, performance, film and architecture.
In the early 1970s, he first gained attention with his miniature architectural sculptures placed in the crevices of buildings on New York’s Lower East Side, but also in Paris and Berlin. Made from minuscule clay bricks, these ephemeral constructions (Dwellings) are the vestiges of a fictive civilization for which the artist imagined a history and even a complete system of beliefs. By locating his performances in desert landscapes (landscape <-> body <-> dwellings), by employing archeological motifs and labyrinthine forms (Maze), Simonds opens his universe to a broad range of references (anthropological, literary, etc.) and reveals his fascination for the origins of humanity. Through his imaginary dream world the artist also succeeds in raising awareness of the practical issues faced by contemporary society – environmental concerns (Stanley-Tankel-Memorial), the search for new habitat styles (Floating cities, Growth House) etc.

Born in 1945 in New York City, where he currently lives, Charles Simonds has taught at Montclair State College in New Jersey, Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs N.Y., at the State College, Old Westbury N.Y. and at the Virginia Commonwealth University. His work has been exhibited around the globe, been the subject of numerous publications, and is held by prestigious collections, among which the Whitney Museum and the MoMA in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Aurélien Vernant

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