Cyprien Gaillard, born in 1980 in Paris, spent his early childhood in California before returning to live in the French capital. From 2004 to 2005 he studied at ECAL (Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne) in Switzerland. In 2010 he won the prestigious Prix Marcel-Duchamp, awarded annually to an artist working in France.
In his practice, which includes a wide range of media, from photography and sculpture to video and performance, Cyprien Gaillard is concerned with the paradoxes that govern our contemporary societies. The artist interrogates the outright destruction of what these latter have previously applied themselves to building. In his work, architecture generally appears at the moment of its collapse, or just afterwards; ruins occupy an important place. Gaillard thus becomes a child of the eighteenth century, seeking piece by piece, journey by journey, to define a new urban form of Romanticism and to refresh and update land art, with its latent sense of finitude and obliteration. Robert Smithson (1938–1973), the figurehead of the land art movement, remains one of Gaillard’s main points of reference.