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b. 1965, Strasbourg, France
Dominique González-Foerster was born in 1965 in Strasbourg, France. She grew up in Grenoble, where she graduated from the École du Magasin of the Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble in 1987, and from the Institute des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques in Paris in 1989.
González-Foerster’s cross-disciplinary practice encompasses film, installation, video, and various forms of collaborative work. She designed sets with musician Alain Bashung (2003), worked on boutiques and displays for fashion house Balenciaga in Paris, New York, and Los Angeles, and is writing a science fiction novel with artist Philippe Parreno. González-Foerster’s art revolves around the transformation of public and private arenas through site-specific installations and environments, and she explores how spaces produce and alter mood, trigger memory, and impact perception. Since her 1990s series of minimally furnished rooms, Chambres, González-Foerster has continued to produce oneiric interiors that allude to cinema, literature, and architecture alongside films and installations about urban life.
One of González-Foerster’s primary interests is modernist architecture, and this accounts for her attraction to Brazil and the distinctive qualities of tropical modernism. As part of Double Terrain de Jeu (Pavilion Marquisse), her contribution to the 2006 São Paulo Biennial, the artist made a film based on her site-specific installation under Oscar Niemeyer’s Grande Marquise (1951–54), a concrete canopy in São Paulo’s Parque Ibirapuera. For her installation, González-Foerster replicated and multiplied the columns that support the canopy. In the accompanying film, a child’s narration offers a playful meditation on memory, perception, and the ambiguities of space.
Gardens and landscapes are also central to González-Foerster’s exploration of space. Her film Gloria (2008) focuses on the Praa Paris in Rio de Janeiro and the inappropriateness of French landscaping to the tropical climate. In Desert Park (2010), a commission for Inhotim in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, González-Foerster brought together deconxtextualized elements of prefabricated concrete bus furniture on a plot of sand to create a site reminiscent of Brasília. Similarly, A Plan for Escape (2002), the outdoor park she designed for that year’s Documenta in Kassel, Germany, was a collage of fragments of modernist buildings from different locales; in it she alluded to her peripatetic lifestyle while also attempting to recuperate the playful, optimistic aspects of its source material.
González-Foerster has had solo exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2002); Kunsthalle Zürich (2004); Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2007); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y Léon, Spain (2008); Tate Modern, London (2008); Dia Art Foundation, New York (2009); Guggenheim Museum, New York (2011); and Palacio de Cristal, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2014). Her work has also been included in the group exhibitions Documenta, Kassel, Germany (2002); the São Paulo Biennial (2006); Skulptur Projekte Münster, Germany (2007); The World as a Stage, organized by Tate Modern, London (2007); the Venice Biennale (2009); Performa, New York, and The New Monumentality, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, United Kingdom (both 2009); Blockbuster: Cine para Exhibiciones, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Mexico (2011); and Human Valley–The Other Side of Contemporary History, Kunsthalle Zürich (2012). Gonzalez-Foerster is the recipient of the Mies van der Rohe Award (1996–97) and the Marcel Duchamp Award (2002). She lives and works in Paris and Rio de Janeiro.