Michel Houellebecq

1958 · France

Artist biography

Michel Houellebecq is seen as an established contemporary artist, who was born in France, like other well-known artists such as Jean-Christophe Norman, Ulrika Byttner, Beatrice Cussol, Daniel Buren, and Jean-Marc Cerino. Michel Houellebecq was born in 1958.

Galleries and Exhibitions

Michel Houellebecq's work is available for viewing at Air de Paris in France. Michel Houellebecq's work has most recently been exhibited at Air de Paris in France (19 October 2019 until 20 December 2019) with the exhibition More.

Historical Context of France

France has been an important nation in the development of modernism. Throughout the 19th century, France established the foundations of what is currently known as the avant-garde, with movements such as Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Art Nouveau, led by critically acclaimed artists.

During the first part of the 20th century, Paris was an essential intellectual and cultural hub, originating cutting-edge movements such as Cubism, Fauvism, Dadaism and Surrealism, amongst others. These movements flourished at the beginning of the century, in the period immediately preceding the Second World War. Major French creative figures from the beginning of the century include Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque (Spanish national who settled in France) Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Le Corbusier amidst a multitude of others.

Further Biographical Context for Michel Houellebecq

Born in 1958, Michel Houellebecq was largely influenced by the 1970s. The 1970s were a period of consolidation and progress in the arts, most often defined as a response to the central tensions of the preceding decade. Conceptual art emerged as a influential movement, and was in part an evolution of and response to minimalism. Land Art took the artwork into the spacious outdoors, taking creative production away from commodities and looking to engage with the earliest ideas of environmentalism. Process art combined elements of conceptualism with other formal reflections, creating esoteric and experimental bodies of work. Expressive figurative painting began to regain importance for the first time since the decline of Abstract Expressionism twenty years before, especially in Germany where Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, Georg Baselitz became highly respected figures worldwide.

New York maintained an important position in the international art scene, ensuring that international artists continued to gravitate to the galleries, bars and downtown scene there.

A number of the artists who gained fame and successful in the 1960s remained dominant figures. For example, Andy Warhol branched out into film and magazine publishing, the first kind of cross cultural activity for a visual artist. This secured his reputation as a globally renowned celebrity in his own right.

International movements began to gain prominence included feminism, which translated strongly into the visual culture, and photorealism which had begun in the 1960s and enjoyed momentous commercial and critical success. For the first time painters and sculptors from Latin America were embraced by the leading critical and institutional levers in New York.

Towards the end of the decade, the emerging practices of graffiti and street art were beginning to gain attention in the fine art community. Artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat were working in downtown Manhattan and ensuring that spray paint and tagging gained some validity as a fine art practice, a trend which would fully develop and dominate throughout the next decade.

In Japan and Korea, artists associated with the Mono-Ha movement explored on encounters between natural and industrial materials such as stone, glass, cotton, sponge, wood, oil and water, arranging them in mostly unaltered, transient states. The works focused on the interdependency of these various elements and the surrounding space, and had a strong interest in the European ideas of phenomenology.

The largely Italian Arte Povera Movement gained world-wide recognition during the 1970s, with artists like Jannis Kounnelis, Mario Merz, and Michelangelo Pistoletto attaining worldwide acclaim.

Michel Houellebecq

  • Exhibitions 1

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