Boltanski currently lives and works in Malakoff, France. Born at the end of the Second World War, he is the son of a Christian mother and a Jewish father, a circumstance that marks part of his work by the Holocaust and death. Self-taught, he began to paint at the age of 14 and, between 1969 and 1971, reconstructed his childhood on the basis of photographs. Throughout his career, Boltanski has worked with photography, sculpture and cinema, although he is especially well-known for his installations. Boltanski participated in the Documenta of 1972, 1977 and 1987, in the 54th biennal of Venice(2011) and has been the subject of multiple exhibitions, for example at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (1984), the Museums of Contemporary Art in Chicago (1988) and Los Angeles (1988),the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo (1994), the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein (2009) in Switzerland and Es Baluard Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma (2011), among many others.
His work forms part of prestigious museums and institutions: Tate Collection in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Fundación Arco in Madrid, Ivam in Valencia, Institute of Contemporary Art in Nagoya (Japan), Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and New York Museum of Modern Art. He has won the “Créateurs sans frontières” prize (2007), the Praemium Imperiale Award of the Japan Art Association (2007) and the Kaiserring Kunstpreis der Stadt Goslar (2001).