Born in Boulogne-Billancourt (Paris) in 1938, Daniel Buren lives and works in situ.
At the beginning of the 1960s Buren began to do paintings that radically questioned and explored the economy of the media used in the work and the relationship between background (support) and form (painting).
In 1965, when he was painting pictures that combined rounded forms and stripes of varying size and colour, he chose to use an industrial fabric with fixed vertical 8.7 cm-wide stripes alternating white with another colour. Starting from this extremely simple and banal visual register, Buren further impoverished it by repeating it systematically with no formal variation whatsoever, with the exception of the colour, infinitely variable, used in alternation to the immutable white. This yielded a reflection on painting, on its methods of presentation and, more in general, on the physical and social environment in which the artist intervenes.
His works soon began to systematically engage with the place where they were located and for which they were conceived—first the street (from 1967), then the gallery, the museum, the landscape or architecture. This resulted in the coining of the term “work in situ”, which has characterized much of his output ever since.
In particular, Buren uses the alternating stripes, which he describes as a “visual tool”, to reveal the significant details of the site where he is working, by employing them in specific and at times complex structures lying somewhere between painting, sculpture and architecture.
His in situ works play with points of view, spaces, colours, light, movement, the surrounding environment, angles or projections, acquiring their decorative force or radically transforming the sites.
Incisive, critical and engaged, Buren’s work is in a continual state of development and diversification, and never fails to stimulate comment, admiration and disagreement. In 1986, he realized his most controversial public commission, today classified as a "historical monument" Les Deux Plateaux (The Two Plateaus), for the courtyard of honour of the Royal Palace in Paris.
Buren is one of the most active and acclaimed artists on the international art scene today, and his work has been shown in leading galleries and museums, and in a disparate range of sites around the world.
Buren participated in Documenta Kassel in 1972 and in 1982. He has exhibited at the Venice Biennial more than ten times, in 1986 representing France and winning the Golden Lion for best pavilion. That same year, he produced his first and most controversial public commission, The Two Plateaux /Les Deux Plateaux, for the main courtyard of the Palais-Royal in Paris.
In 2007, Daniel Buren received the Praemium Imperiale, awarded by the Emperor of Japan, which is widely regarded as the “Nobel Prize” for the Visual Arts.
In 2012 he exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris, for the fifth edition of Monumenta. Sites playing host to some of his most important permanent public works include: the Palais Royal, Paris; Tokyo Odaiba, Japan; Chapelle du Donjon, Vez, France; Bahnhof, Wolfsburg, Germany; Bundesministerium fur Arbeit und Sozialordnung, Berlin; Parc de la Cigalière, Sérignan, France; Telenor, Oslo; Piazza Arnolfo di Cambio, Colle di Val d’Elsa, Italy; Villa La Magia, Quarrata, Italy; MACRO, Roma and more recently, Otemachi Financial City Grand Cube, Tokyo; Piazza Verdi, La Spezia, Italy; the very central Tottenham Court Road tube station in London, which houses Diamonds and Circles, and the Artz Pedregal shopping centre in Mexico City, where De la rotunda a la Fuente, 5 colores para México was inaugurated last March.
Among his recent solo shows: Quand le textile s’éclaire: Fibres optiques tissées, Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz (2018); Del medio círculo al círculo completo: un recorrido del color, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá (MAMBO (2017); L’Observatoire de la Lumière, travail in situ, Fondation Vuitton, Paris, France (2016); Daniel Buren. A Fresco, Bozar, Bruxelles, Belgium (2016); Axer / Désaxer, lavoro in situ, Madre, Naples, Italy (2015); Daniel Buren – Zwei Werke für Recklinghausen, Festspielhaus and Kunsthalle, Recklinghausen, Germany (2015); De un patio a otro : laberinto, trabajos in situ, Hospicio Cabañas, Guadalajara, Mexico (2014); Catch as Catch Can: works in situ, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, United Kingdom (2014). The same year he signed the scenography of the ballet Daphnis et Chloé, Ravel/Millepied at Opéra Bastille, Paris.