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DOCUMENTS     About : Marie-Jo Lafontaine, Karin Strobbe

About : Marie-Jo Lafontaine, Karin Strobbe

September 26th 2006

Not only is Marie-Jo Lafontaine a prominent member of the contemporary Belgian art scene, she also holds an important place among some of the most recognized international contemporary artists.

Trained at “La Cambre”, the national visual arts college, she opted for video sculpture, photography and painting. Her involvement in “ Dokumenta” in Kassel, in 1987, was a first step on the path to international acknowledgment.

Her work has been shown from London to Berlin, Paris to Oslo, Boston to Los Angeles, Amsterdam to Lisbon, Tokyo to Antwerp, in the most distinguished museums and the most noteworthy galleries, from the Guggenheim in New York to the Tate Gallery in London, the SMAK in Ghent and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the prestigious Musée du Jeu de Paume in Paris, the
Museum of Contemporary Art in Basle and the Musée Cantini in Marseille, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the list goes on… Her work can also be found in the collections of several museums, as well as in international private collections.

The artist is also well-known for her involvement in prominent competitions for the integration of works of art in public spaces, such as the Stockholm airport or the Justice Palace in Bonn, as well as for her participation in the image documentation of operas, such as Fidelio by Beethoven.

Over the course of her career, Marie-Jo Lafontaine has received a number of notable prizes such as the Prix de la Jeune Peinture Belge (1977), the Rome Prize, a grant from the M.I.T in Boston (USA), the European Photography Award of Great Britain (1997).

In Germany, the city of Darmstadt granted her the Wilhelm Loth Kunstpreis (1995). In 2003, she was the Competition Winner of the project “Kunst am Bau” for the Felix Nussbaumhaus in Osnabrück, designed by the American architect Daniel Libeskind. She is also the author of an artistic venture for BMW in Munich. Furthermore, Marie-Jo Lafontaine designed a postage stamp for an artistic series for the Belgian postal service.

A private viewing of her video-installation “Chill Out Room” – an installation which was shown for a number of months, during “Beaufort 2003”, the triennial festival of contemporary art along the Belgian coast – was held for Queen Paola, in 2003.

The Flemish community awarded her the title of “Cultural Ambassador of Flanders” relating to her entire body of work and she was a lecturer at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany for 8 years.

For the artistic opening of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Marie-Jo Lafontaine was chosen among a number of artists, by a committee of public figures from the banking metropolis Frankfurt-am-Main.

In choosing this internationally recognized Belgian artist, Frankfurt welcomes one of the most distinctive personalities of the contemporary art scene. With her penetrating and cosmopolitan view, she scrutinizes our ever-changing world, the existence of humans on earth and more importantly, the future of our children in a multi-cultural society. Marie-Jo Lafontaine’s work caused a commotion. She literally kicks our conscience’s backside!

In “I love the world”, Marie-Jo Lafontaine reveals architecture in its dominant position, that of the first art. The nine skyscrapers, which make up Frankfurt’s silhouette, are used as giant screens upon which the artist presents a splendid sculpture of sound and image.

A number of catalogues and publications relating to her work have been released and she has a website which highlights most of her work.

karin Strobbe