Marie-Jo Lafontaine

Year of birth, place
1950, Antwerp, Belgium
Role at the ZKM
in the collection
Marie-Jo Lafontaine was born in Antwerp in 1950. She studied (1975-79) at the École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture et des Arts Visuels 'La Cambre', Brussels. She has received a great many prizes and awards, beginning with the Prix de la Jeune Peinture Beige in 1977. In 1986 she received a FIACRE grant from the French Ministry of Culture and in 1996 she won the European Photography Award. In 1990 she held a guest professorship at the Salzburg Sommerakademie. Since 1992 she has been Professor of Media Arts at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe. She lives in Brussels.

In 1977 Lafontaine started to make tapestries, weaving black-dyed wool into emphatically linear patterns. In her sculptural work she used plaster, concrete and lead to create both organic and geometric forms. She also engaged in photography notably, large images of women and children - and created image objects made of monochrome, painted wooden reliefs, several centimetres thick, usually incorporating a photographic image, with an inset text in bronze that invariably bestowed on such works an ambivalent emotional weight. In 1980 Lafontaine started to use video, both in sculptural work and in installations and environments. Since then her video sculpture has often been remarkable for its vast proportions: monitors and their pedestals appear to be the components of an ambitious architectural scheme and the ensemble assumes the character of a monument. The dominating thematic association between Eros and Thanatos, passion and reason, is explored through powerful images of people and animals in extreme situations.

Individual exhibitions (selection)
1976 Galerie Walter Thompson, Brussels
1977 Galerie Anne Van Hoorenbeck, Brussels
1979 Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels
1981 Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
1984 »Octobre des Arts«, E.L.A.C., Lyon
1985 Tate Gallery, London
1986 »Des jeux pour rejouir le regard des Dieux«, Musée Cantini, Marseille; »A las cinco de la tarde«, Sprengel Museum Hannover
1988 Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; »Marie-Jo Lafontaine: Les Larmes d'Acier«, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basle
1989 Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London
1990 »Passio«, Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach; »Die Büchse der Pandora«, Museum Schloss Hardenberg, Velbert
1992 »History Is Against Forgiveness«, Goethe Institut, Brussels; »Jeder Engel ist schrecklich«, Nordjyllands Kunstmuseum, Aalborg, subsequently at Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Gasometer Oberhausen
1994 »Victoria«, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, subsequently at Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer, Art Cologne, Cologne; »Nuages et Mer«, Video-Installation, Lisboa 94, Lisbon; »Savoir retenir et fixer ce qui est sublime«, University Art Museum Califomia State, Long Beach
1995 ARS Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; »lmmaculata«/»Belles de Nuit«, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris
1996 »La Nature Morte«, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg; Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp; »Au loin s'en vont les nuages«, Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer, Düsseldorf
Group exhibitions (selection)
1977 »03 23 03 Rencontres Internationales d'Art Contemporain«, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
1978 »Prix de Jeune Peinture Belge«, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels
1979 »La Cambre 1928-78«, Musée d'Ixelles, Brussels; 11. Paris Biennale, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
1981 10. Biennale Internationale de la Tapisserie, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne
1982 »World Video Festival«, Het Koetshuis, Den Haag
1984 »Electra«, Musée d'Art Moderne da la Ville de Paris; »Het Lumineuze Beeld«, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
1985 »Kunst mit Eigen-Sinn«, Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna
1986 »Chambres d'amis«, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent
1987 documenta VIII, Kassel
1989 »Video-Skulptur retrospektiv und aktuell 1963-89«, Kunstverein, Cologne, subsequently at Kongresshalle Berlin, Kunsthaus Zürich
1990 »Threshold«, The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo; The Biennale of Sydney, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
1991 »MultiMediale 2«, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe
1992 »Moving Image - Electronic Art«, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; »Robert Barry, Marianne Eigenheer, Mic Enneper, Peter Hutchinson, Jürgen Klauke, Marie-Jo Lafontaine ... «,Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer, Düsseldorf
1993 »Mediale«, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
1994 »MultiMediale 3«, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe
1995 »Klangskulpturen - Augenmusik«, Ludwig Museum, Koblenz
1996 »Ich Phoenix«, Gasometer Oberhausen; »Hommage a Picasso«, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg; »Black, Grey & White«, Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer, Düsseldorf; »Mediascape«, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum SoHo, New York; »Abenteuer Kunst«, Städtische Galerie Göppingen; »5 Künstler«, Galerie Sander, Darmstadt

[Konstanze Thümmel, 1997]