Daniel Buren

Daniel Buren
Daniel Buren

Daniel Buren
Born 1938
Nationality French
Field Sculpture, Installation
Movement Abstract minimalism
Works Les Deux Plateaux
Influenced by Situationist International
Awards Praemium Imperiale, Golden Lion Award

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



Sometimes classified as an abstract minimalist Buren 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.

Early work

Buren graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Métiers d'Art, Paris, in 1960.[1] He began painting in the early 1960s. However, by 1965 – a year he spent in the Grapetree Bay Hotel on the Caribbean island of Saint Croix[2] – he had abandoned traditional painting for the vertical stripes (8.7 cm wide, alternating between white and a color), which have become his signature. Working 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. 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 began producing unsolicited public art works using striped awning canvas common in France: he started by setting up hundreds of striped posters, so-called affichages sauvages, around Paris and later in more than 100 metro station 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. Expanding on this idea, in 1971 he created a 66 foot banner, Peinture-Sculpture, to divide the Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum’s rotunda in New York. For his first New York solo show, in 1973, Buren suspended striped squares of canvas on a cable that ran from one end of the John Weber Gallery to the other, out the window to a building on the other side of West Broadway and back.[3] In 1977 Buren cut up one of his artworks from 1969 and made a new work, designating that the sections should hang in the corners of a wall, whether that wall was empty, had doors or windows, or even had other artworks hanging on it.[4] Since the 1950s he has amassed some 400,000 of what he calls photos-souvenirs, documenting his work and travels around the globe.

Tours Tram - The vertical stripes ; Collaboration design with RCP Design Global

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. 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. Between 1966 and 1967, he joined forces with fellow artists Olivier Mosset, Michel Parmentier, and Niele Toroni to form the group BMPT, whose intention was to reduce paintings to the most elemental physical and visual elements through the systematic repetition of motifs.

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.


From 1960 on, Buren designed a number of permanent site-specific installations in the United States, Belgium, France, and Germany. 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. In 1993, Buren was nonetheless commissioned to design the work in situ Poser/Déposer/Exposer for the Café Richelieu at the Louvre in collaboration with Jean-Pierre Raynaud.

Since the 1990s, Buren’s work has become more architectural. He creates new spaces within existing environments such as beaches (Le Vent soufle où il veut, 2009), city centers (A Colored Square in the Sky, 2007), public parks (La Cabane Éclatée aux 4 Salles, 2005) and entire museums (The Eye of the Storm, 2005).[5] In 2004, for the occasion of the opening of the French cultural year in China, Buren exhibited in his in situ installation De l'azur au Temple du Ciel (From the sky to Temple of Heaven) at Temple of Heaven in Beijing.[6] A Rainbow in the Sky (2009) consists of thousands of colorful pennant flags hovering over a busy pedestrian square in Pasadena.[7]

Buren collaborated with Hermès on a number of occasions. The artist inaugurated Hermès' contemporary art gallery La Verrière in Brussels in 2000 by transforming its walls with bold graphics, colours and his trademark stripes, and later opened the Atelier Hermès in Dosan Park, Seoul with his Filtres colorés, coloured panels that diffused the light to dramatic effect.[8] In 2010, he created "Photo souvenirs au carrè", a 365 limited-edition line of scarves decorated with silk-printed photographs.[9]

In 2009 Buren collaborated with the collective "ensemble(s) la ligne" created by RCP Design Global agency, with, among others, Louis Dandrel, Roger Tallon: Curseur (2009-2013). It is a work in situ - for Tours Tram - three black and white stripes vertically, which will join the same horizontal marking on the ground, both at right angles to the opening of the doors. Trainsets shaped cursor with "mirror effect" identified in black and white stripes.[10] · [11]


Buren had his first important solo exhibition at the Galleria Apollinaire in Milan in 1968, where he blocked a glass door, the only entrance to the gallery, with a striped support. He has since installed his environmental installations worldwide. By the ’70s and ’80s he was exhibiting in Europe, America and Japan. Buren wished to take part in Harald Szeemann's exhibition "When Attitudes Become Form", in Bern in 1969, without being invited. Two of the contributing artists offered him space, but instead Buren set about covering billboards in the city with his stripes. He was arrested and had to hightail it out of Switzerland.[12] In 1971, Buren devised a banner, 20 by 10 metres, with white and blue stripes on both sides to be hung at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in a big international group show, conceived to encourage artists to exploit the building's space. Other artists, including Dan Flavin and Donald Judd, protested that the banner blocked views across the rotunda, compromising their works. Buren, in turn, said Flavin's fluorescent lights colored his banner. The night before the opening the banner was removed.[13] Buren was later invited to participate in the Documentas 5-7 (1972-1982).

In 1986 when François Mitterrand was President, he attained leading artist status after he created Les Deux Plateaux (1985–86), a work in situ for the Cour d'Honneur at the Palais Royal in Paris, Paris (see details above). That same year, he represented France at the Venice Biennale and won the Golden Lion Award. Buren had major solo exhibitions at the Touko Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, in 1989, at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 2002,[14] at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2005, at Modern Art Oxford in 2006, and at the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden in 2011. In December 2006 Buren won the competition to make Arcos Rojos / Arku Gorriaka, a new major project for the iconic 'Puente de La Salve' bridge next to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao while, in February 2007, the Musée Fabre in Montpellier re-opened with a new permanent commission. For the 52nd Venice Biennale Buren created a new site-specific work for the Giardini of the Italian Pavilion, and was curator of Sophie Calle's contribution to the French Pavilion.[15] In 2009, Buren conveived Couleurs superposes (Layered colours), a performance which he directed at the Metz Métropole Opera House and Theatre on the occasion of the opening of the Centre Pompidou-Metz.[16] In 2011, he decided to cancel an exhibition at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing in "solidarity" with detained artist Ai Weiwei.[17]


Buren's works are part of several major public collections such as Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Tate Modern, London; the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Museo Guggenheim de Arte Moderno y Contemporaneo, Bilbao, and Moderna Museet, Stockholm.


In 1990, New Zealand honored him as a Living Treasure for their 150th anniversary and in 1991 he received the International Award for the Best Artist given in Stuttgart, Germany, followed by the Grand Prix National de Peinture in France, 1992.[18] 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.

List of permanent public installations

« L’arc Rouge » (The red arc), Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Spain
  • 17 Peintures sur bois, 1960-1961. Travail in situ, Grapetree Bay Hôtel, Sainte-Croix, Iles Vierges, United States
  • 4 Mosaïques, 1965. Travail in situ, Grapetree Bay Hôtel, Sainte-Croix, Iles Vierges, United States
  • Lambris, 1980. Travail in situ – en collaboration avec Charles Vandenhove, architecte, Liège – Hôpital Universitaire, Liège, Belgium.
  • In the Dining Room, 1982. Travail in situ, Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, United States
  • Le Salon Royal, 1984-1986. Travail in situ – en collaboration avec Charles Vandenhove, architecte, Liège – Théâtre de la Monnaie, Bruxelles, Belgique.
  • Neuf Couleurs au vent, 1984-1996. Travail in situ in “Québec 1534-1984”, Québec, Canada, mai 1984. Installé de manière permanente depuis 1996, place Urbain-Baudreau-Graveline, Montréal, Canada.
  • Les Deux Plateaux, 1985-1986. Sculpture in situ – avec l'architecte Patrick Bouchain, Paris –, cour d'honneur du Palais-Royal, Paris, France.
  • Diagonale pour des bambous, 1986-1987. Travail in situ – en collaboration avec Alexandre Chemetov, architecte paysagiste, Paris –, Parc de la Villette, Paris, France.
  • La Porte, 1987. Travail in situ, Domgasse, Münster, Germany.
  • Frieze Paint, 1987: Peinture sur/sous plexiglas, Travail in situ, Refco collection, salle des marchés, New York, New York, United States
  • Von der Heydt Museum : Das Cafe, 1987-1990. Travail in situ – avec l'assistance de M. Bussman, architecte -, Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal, Germany.
  • La Marche des Fédérés Marseillais / Aux Couleurs de la ville, décembre 1989. 500 flammes de Marseille à Paris : 7 stations, 1989-1992, Travail in situ, réalisé dans sept villes : Marseille, Avignon, Valence, Vienne, Mâcon, Saulieu et Charenton, France. Travail détruit à la demande de l'artiste en 2006, par manque de maintenance de l'œuvre.
  • Sans Titre, 1990. Travail in situ , Furkablicke Hôtel, Furkapasshöhe, Switzerland.
  • Double rythme, juin 1991. Frise in situ, peinture acrylique et vinyle autoadhésif, Siège social Saarbrücken Kongresshalle, Saarbrücken, Germany
  • Passage blanc et noir, 1992. Travail in situ - en collaboration avec Charles Vandenhove, architecte, Liège - De Liefde, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • Horizontal cut - Vertical cut - Fragmented reflexion - Frise, 1992. Travail in situ, Hypo-Bank, Kempfenhausen, Germany.
  • Autour du Puits, 1993. Travail in situ, réalisé à l'occasion de "Trésors de voyage, XLV Biennale di Venezia", Monastero dei Padri Mechitaristi, Venice, Isola de San Lazaro degli Armeni, Venice, Italy.
  • Poser/Déposer/Exposer, 1993. Travail in situ – avec l'assistance de Jean-Michel Wilmotte, architecte, Paris – Café Richelieu, Galerie Richelieu, Grand Louvre, Paris, France.
  • From one Place to another. From one Material to another. Passages in and out, 1993-199. Travail in situ, Shinjuku I-Land, Tokyo, Japan
  • Les Arches avril, 1994. Travail in situ, Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton, Great Britain.
  • Sens Dessus-Dessous, 1994. Sculpture in situ et en mouvement – en collaboration avec Jean-Michel Wilmotte et avec l'assistance de Michel Targe, architecte, Lyon, Parc des Célestins, Lyon, France.
  • Déplacement-Jaillissement : D'une fontaine les Autres, 1994. Travail in situ - en collaboration avec Christian Drevet, architecte, Lyon et le concours d'Art/Entreprise Georges Verney-Carron, Villeurbanne –, Place des Terreaux, Lyon, France.
  • Diagonale pour des pilastres - Losanges pour des couleurs, 1994-1995. Travail in situ, Deutsche Telekom, Bonn, Germany
  • D'une place l'autre : Placer, déplacer, ajuster, situer, transformer, 1994–1996. Travail in situ, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • 25 Porticos : la couleur et ses reflets, 1996. Travail in situ – à l'initiative de Shiraishi Contemporary Art Inc., Tokyo, baie d'Odaiba, Saera Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan.
  • La Montée de la couleur et la Cascade de la couleur, 1996 : Travail in situ - à l'initiative de Brigitte Oetker, New Trade Fair Center, Leipzig, Germany.
  • Soleils et Garde-corps, 1996 : Travaux in situ - en collaboration avec Charles Vandenhove, Liège - Théâtre des Abbesses, Paris, France.
  • Diagonale pour un lieu 1996-1997 Travail in situ – avec l'assistance de Jean-Christophe Denise, architecte, Paris et de Henn Architekten Ingenieure –, Technische Universität, Munich, Germany
  • Encoder-Décoder : du code à sa lecture, Couleurs, Reflets, Transparence, 1996-1997 : Travaux in situ – en collaboration avec Patrick Bouchain, architecte, Paris –, Thomson, Boulogne-Billancourt, France
  • La Salle de concert - La Salle des miroirs 1996-1997 Travaux in situ – avec l'assistance de Jean-Christophe Denise, architecte, Paris et du cabinet d'architecture ABB, Francfort-sur-le-Main –, siège social, Dresdner Bank AG, Frankfurt, Germany.
  • Cabane Rouge aux Miroirs, 1996-2006, travail in situ, Musée de la Chartreuse, Douai, France.
  • Sans titre, aménagement de la caféteria, travail in situ, 2006, EACC (Espai d´Art Contemporani de Castelló), Castellon de la Plana, Spain
  • Catalogue raisonné : T XIII-14
  • À travers le miroir incliné : la couleur 1997, travaux in situ – à l'initiative de la galerie Hete Hünerman, Düsseldorf –, siège social, IKB (Industrial Kredit Bank), Düsseldorf, Allemagne
  • Catalogue raisonné : T XIII-22
  • Ipotesi su alcuni indizi – Part II 1987-1997 Travail in situ – avec l'assistance de Incontri Internazionali d'Arti, Rome, et d'Alberto Zanmatti, architecte, Rome – Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy
  • Catalogue raisonné : T XIII-14R
  • Cercles, 1998 Travail in situ, Victoria Insurance, Düsseldorf, Allemagne, à l’initiative et avec l’assistance d’Achenbach Art Consulting, Düsseldorf, Allemagne
  • Passage sous-bois, 1998 Travail in situ – à l'initiative de Sounjou Seo, Corée –, Kimpo Parc National, Kimpo, South Korea
  • Sit down octobre, 1998 Travail in situ, Storm King Art Center, Mountainville (New York), United States
  • From floor to ceiling and vice versa, 1998 Travail in situ – à l'initiative de Fumio Nanjo, Tokyo –, Obayashi Corporation, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Ohne Titel / Installation im Trepenhaus des Neuen Museums Weimar, 1996-1998 Travail in situ – à l'initiative de Paul Maenz, Cologne, Neues Museum Weimar, Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar, Weimar, Germany
  • La Couleur : fut, a été, aurait pu être, pourrait être, serait, sera. Cinq petits jeux prospectifs et un rétrospectif, à découvrir à partir de photos-souvenirs préparées, mars 1999. Travail in situ permanent sur le web, Site internet : Entrée libre, Ministère de la culture et de la communication, Paris. http://www.culture.fr/entreelibre/Buren
  • Arc-en-ciel pour Fausto, 1999-2000 Travail in situ, – installation permanente au siège social de Radicichimica GmbH, de Polygone pour Poggibonsi : 180 drapeaux, 9 couleurs, réalisé in “Arte all Arte”, 4e édition, Cassero della Fortezza di Poggio Imperiale, Poggibonsi, 1999 Troglitz, Germany.
  • Triangles coulissants, 1999 Travail in situ, siège social de Michaux Gestion, Lyon, France
  • Trois Points de vue pour un dialogue – Œuvre en hommage au cardinal Decourtray, 1998-2000. Travail in situ – à l'initiative de The Jerusalem Foundation –, Mont-Sion, Jerusalem, Israel
  • Par Transparence, 1997-2000. Travail in situ, Institut français, Rotterdam, Pays-Bas.
  • White and Green Fence, 2001–2003. Travail in situ, The Farm, Gibbs Sculpture collection, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Transparences colorées, 1999-2001. Travail in situ, Allianz Haupterverwaltung, Munich, Allemagne.
  • Sulle Vigne : punti di vista = Sur les Vignes: points de vue, 2001. Travail in situ, Castello di Ama, Lecchi in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy.
  • La Grande Fenêtre, 1998-2001. Travail in situ - in collaboration with Joseph Paul Kleihues -, Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Sozialordnung, Berlin, Germany.
  • Au-dessus des vagues, l’horizon, 2001. Travail in situ, réalisé in "Quatrième exposition de sculpture contemporaine de Shenzhen / The Fourth Shenzhen Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition / Transplantation in situ", He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, Chine
  • D'un Cercle à l'Autre: le paysage emprunté, 2001. Travail in situ, dans la ville de Luxembourg, Luxembourg.
  • Rayonnant, 2000-2002. Travail in situ en collaboration avec Nicolas Guillot architecte-, Parc de la Cigalière, Sérignan, France.
  • Fondation surgissante, 2000-2002. Travail in situ in collaboration with Claes Söderquist, Telenor Eiendom Fornebu AS, Oslo, Norway
  • Prospettive, 2000-2005. Travail in situ Palazzo BSI, Lugano, Tessin, Switzerland
  • Projection colorée, 2001-2002. Travail in situ in collaboration with Dominique Perrault, Hôtel-de-Ville, Innsbruck, Austria
  • White and Green Fence, 2001-2003. Travail in situ évolutif, The Farm, Gibbs Sculpture collection, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Somewhere along the way, some colors, 2002-2003. Travail in situ – à l'initiative de Art Front Gallery, Tokyo –, pour Toki Messe, Niigata, Japon.
  • The Colors suspended: 3 exploded Cabins, 2002-2003. Travail in situ, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota, Japon.
  • Prière de toucher : La signalétique tactile et visuelle - Pliages, 2000-2003. Travaux in situ – en collaboration avec la Fondation de France et le Bureau des Compétences et Désirs, IRSAM, Institut Régional des sourds et des aveugles, Marseille, France.
  • La Cabane Éclatée aux Quatre Salles, 2003-2005. Travail in situ pour Giuliano Gori – à l'initiative de Galleria Continua, San Gimignano –, Fattoria di Celle, Santomato di Pistoia, Italie.
  • Cerchi nell'aqua, 2004. Travaux in situ – en collaboration Naples Azienda risorse idriche di napoli Arin, , Ponticelli, Naples, Italie.
  • Le Jardin imaginaire, 2004. Travail in situ – à l'initiative de Michle Lachowsky et Joel Benzakin –, Sint-Donatuspark, Louvain, Belgium.
  • [Sans Titre], 2004-2005. Travail in situ – à l'initiative de Blue Dragon Art Company, Tapei, Bin Jiang Junior High School, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Tram/Trame, 2004-2006. Travail in situ – avec l'assistance de Jean-Christophe Denise, architecte, Paris, aux 14 stations de la ligne Est-Ouest du tramway de Mulhouse, Mulhouse, France
  • Transparences et Projections colorées, 2005. Travail in situ, chapelle du Donjon de Vez, France
  • Partitions colorées, 2005. Travaux in situ – à l'initiative de Giuliano Gori, Pistoia et avec l'assistance de Gianniantonio Vannetti, architecte, Florence –, Nuovo Padiglione di Emodialisi di Pistoia, Pistoia, Italy
  • Monter / Descendre, 2005. Travail in situ – à l'initiative de Buchmann Galerie, Cologne/Berlin ­–, Bahnhof, Wolfsburg, Allemagne.
  • La Caféteria, 2006. Travail in situ – à l'initiative de Michèle Lachowsky et Joel Benzakin –, EAAC-Musée de la Ville de Castellon, Castellon, Spain
  • La portée, 2007. Mosaïque de Template:Unité de long en marbre blanc et granit noir, balisant l'entrée du nouveau musée Fabre, Montpellier, Hérault, France
  • Les anneaux, 2007. Ensemble d'anneaux en métal bordant un quai, s'illuminant de différentes couleurs la nuit. Quai des Antilles, île de Nantes, Nantes, Loire-Atlantique, France

See also

External links

Daniel Buren is represented in London by Lisson Gallery and in New York by Bortolami, http://www.bortolamigallery.com/Buren/burenartistpage.htm


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