Born 1956 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Operating through the medium of photography, Christopher Williams’ work is an investigation of the current condition of pictorial representation and production. Functioning as both conceptual art and institutional critique, Williams crafts historically and politically referential photographs that analyze aesthetic conventions and the contemporary context of image making.
A range of references are at play in Williams’ photographic style; 1960s advertisements come to mind, as well as histories of film and fine art. His carefully crafted, technically precise images take ordinary objects, scenes and people as their subjects, rendering them with great detail and precision, making them appear almost eerily perfect and uncanny. Williams mimics the ultra-sleekness of the synthetic commercial world — set slightly off balance, reminding us of the ingrained conventions of modern image making.
Williams’ medium is not merely the taking of photographs, but also the construction of the setting with extreme care and precision, and the staging of the finished works. Extensive descriptive titles, unusual hanging heights, and interventions in the exhibition architecture are usual for Williams. In demonstrating how dependent art objects are on their methods of production and contexts of display, the ‘constructed-ness’ of images is revealed. Williams draws attention to the staged nature of his photographs, foregrounding the technical production process and the process of photography itself.
Williams has exhibited extensively worldwide, with solo exhibitions at C/O Berlin; Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover; La Triennale di Milano; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle; Kunsthalle Baden-Baden; Kunsthalle Zürich; Secession, Vienna among many others. His work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum all in New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Ludwig Museum, Cologne; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; The Art Institute of Chicago, and more. Since 2008, Williams has been the professor of Photography at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.