One of the most outstanding artists of the contemporary artistic scene, closely tied to the ideologies of conceptual Art. His work attempts to transmit a feeling of distance and impersonality. To this end he systematically uses vertical bands made of diverse types of materials but always of the same width: exactly 3.4 inches.
Daniel Buren has travelled all over the world reaping criticism and success in equal parts. Accustomed to controversy, he himself says that he is “armored” against any type of attack, and he continues to forge ahead with a plastic style that is set against conventional institutions and artistic media.
He started his training at the École des Métiers d´Art, followed by a brief sojourn at the École National Supérieure de Beaux Arts. He has explored all disciplines, from painting to cinema, and it was in 1965 when he focused his work on the repetition of his famous vertical lines. He tries to make an impact on the spectator with them, while at the same time reducing visual elements to a minimum.
Since 1970 he has applied this obsessive language to the production of installations. He has no qualms about working in public spaces whether or not he has authorization. This has brought him problems with the police on more than one occasion. Buren is certainly one of the most solid representatives of Street Art.
In 1975 he entered a new stage in which he would create his works in the same place where they were to be exhibited. This means installations closely tied to the architecture and the scenic setting, and he calls them “cabane eclatée.” Some of these works have been the basis of virulent disputes among the general public and in the media, as happened regarding the one he created in 1986 called ‘Deux Plateaux,” a 3000 square-meter installation with which he virtually took over one of the courtyards of the Palais-Royal in Paris. The venerable seventeenth century building whose construction was commissioned by Cardinal Richelieu found itself invaded by numerous columns of varying sizes that Daniel Buren covered with his typical black and white stripes. This work, which was on the verge of toppling the whole Ministry of Culture, now holds a certification as a National Monument.
Among the artist’s most recent production is another installation that is on its way to becoming one of the symbols of Bilbao: a gigantic red arch over the bridge that crosses the inlet in front of the Guggenheim Museum.
Daniel Buren’s work has been exhibited in such prestigious institutions as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Jerusalem Foundation or the Guggenheim in New York. Very few now doubt his portentous capacity for transforming an urban medium to create Art in the most far-fetched ways. Buren is, in his own right, one of the great masters of contemporary Art.