David Claerbout was born in 1969 in Kortrijk, Belgium. He studied at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and at the Rijksakademie of Visual Arts in Amsterdam. He lives and works in Antwerp and Berlin.
In 2007, David Claerbout was awarded the Will-Grohmann-Preis of the Berlin Akademie der Künste, and in 2010, he received the Peill-Preis of the Günther-Peill-Stiftung. He participated in the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program from 2002 to 2003.
Originally trained in painting and drawing, David Claerbout is known for his works using photography, video, digital technology and sound. His practice revolves around the concepts of temporality and duration, images suspended in a tension between stillness and movement, as well as the experience of dilated time and memory. David Claerbout says that he “sculpts in duration. The definition of duration is different from that of time: duration is not an independent state-like time, but an in-between state.” With his large-scale video-based installations, the artist makes the viewer a part of the work: whether by establishing a connection between the projected images on the screen and the audience, or by creating a spatial relationship between the screen itself and the exhibition space, or simply, by allowing a process by which “a single scene can develop into another by the presence of the spectator and a bit of time.”
The artist has exhibited extensively. Selected solo exhibitions include: David Claerbout, De Pont Museum, Tilburg (2021); David Claerbout: Unseen Sound, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2021); David Claerbout, Olympia, Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide (2020) and Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague (2020); David Claerbout: Laziness of Action, Kunst Museum Winterthur, Winterthur (2020); David Claerbout: The Pure Necessity, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, Zuoz (2019–20); David Claerbout, Les Abattoirs, Toulouse (2018–19); David Claerbout, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz (2018); David Claerbout, Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh (2018); David Claerbout: KING and The Pure Necessity, Pinacoteca de São Paulo, Sao Paulo (2017); Olympia, KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2016); Future, De Pont Museum, Tilburg (2016); Die reine Notwendigkeit, Städel Museum, Frankfurt (2016); David Claerbout, Marabouparken Konsthall, Sundbyberg (2015); Projects Art Centre, Dublin (2015); Performed Pictures, MAMCO, Geneva (2015); David Claerbout, FRAC Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand (2015); GRIJS / GREY, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2014); David Claerbout, Kunsthalle Mainz (2013); Diese Sonne strahlt immer, Secession, Vienna (2012); David Claerbout: The Time that Remains, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Helena Rubinstein Pavilion, Tel Aviv (2012), Parasol Unit, London (2012), and WIELS, Brussels (2011); David Claerbout: Architecture of Narrative, SFMOMA, San Francisco (2011); David Claerbout: Uncertain Eye, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2010); The Shape of Time, De Pont Museum, Tilburg (2009); David Claerbout, Espace 315, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2007).
Group exhibitions include: Bienvenue dans le désert du reel, Collection Lambert, Avignon (2022); The World: Reglitterized, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2021); I am Nature – Of Vulnerability. Survival in the risk society: ROHKUNSTBAU 26, Schloss Lieberose, Lieberose/Spreewald (2021); The Nature of Art, Busan Museum of Art, Busan (2021); 100 ways to live a minute, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow (2020); The Route is Being Recalculated, From De Pont’s Collection, De Pont museum of contemporary art, Tilburg (2020); The Collection, M HKA, Antwerp (2020); A Long Time Short, KAI10 | Arthena Foundation, Düsseldorf (2020); Short (Hi)Stories of Photography (#1). An Exhibition in Several Chapters, Sprengel Museum, Hannover (2018); WAITING. Between Power and Possibility, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg (2017); Songs of Alienation, Foundation Vincent van Gogh, Arles (2017); The Image of War, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2017); Ways of Seeing, ARTER, Istanbul (2017); RealTIME, Kunstmuseum Bonn (2016); The Power of the Avant-Garde, BOZAR, Brussels (travelled to National Museum Krakow 2017) (2016); Paradise on Earth. Landscapes from Bruegel to Rubens, Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau, Dresden (2016); Future Present. Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, Schaulager, Basel (2015); RAY Fotografieprojekte, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt and Louisiana Art Museum, Humlebaek (2015); Few Free Years: Von Absalon bis Zobernig. Schenkungen von Friedrich Christian Flick an die Nationalgalerie Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2015); Variation of the Moon, Nam June Paik Art Center, Giheung-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea (2014); You Imagine What You Desire, 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014); Days of Endless Time, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2014); Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah (2013); More Light, 5th Moscow Biennale, Moscow (2013); 7th Seoul International Media Art Biennale, Media City Seoul (2012); Spell on you, Seoul Museum of Art Semikolon Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2012); The World belongs to you, Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2011); Fragments in Time and Space, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C (2011); MMK 1991-2011. 20 Jahre Gegenwart, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main (2011); and São Paolo Biennial, São Paolo (2010).
His work has been acquired by the following collections: Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; SFMOMA, San Francisco; De Pont Museum, Tilburg; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; ARC / Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; MMK– Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Städel Museum, Frankfurt; Emmanuel Hoffmann Stiftung, Basel; Pinakothek der Moderne, München; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.