Thierry Geoffroy

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Thierry Geoffroy, 2007
Thierry Geoffroy/Colonel at ZKM Museum with students from SHG in 2011

Thierry Geoffroy (born 1961), also known as Colonel, is a Danish-French artist, living in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is a Conceptual artist using a wide variety of media including video and installations, often collaborative with other artists.[1]

Format art[edit]

Geoffroy refers to his work as "format art", since the format of the artwork is the artwork. In 1989 he wrote a manifest on five types of moving exhibitions (Manifeste – Les differents Types de moving Exhibitions). Since then he has worked on several other formats, his most famous being Emergency Room, which has toured internationally and has been shown at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York. The formats generally involve many participants and are designed to investigate social psychology (e.g., conflicts, collaboration).

His method is inspired by the TV program format: art institutions wanting to use an art format must purchase a license and agree to use the original title, architectural concept, and methods. As in TV, vast documentation is always created with video and photo material as central elements.

Emergency Room[edit]

Geoffroy devised the 'Emergency Room' concept to allow artists to respond to current events quickly. The exhibits are changed every day. 'Emergency Room' events have been held in Copenhagen, Berlin, New York,[1][2] Paris (where over 150 artists took part)[3] and Manifesto 8 in Murcia, Spain.[4][5] Part of the latter took place in a 'Penetration Room', combining Geoffroy's "penetration" art. The 2010 Biennale took the theme of "North Africa" and Geoffroy invited North African artists to intervene (or penetrate) the exhibition space.[6][7]

Other work[edit]

Thierry Geoffroy/Colonel offering Penetration Space at Manifesta Biennial / Murcia 2010 to North African artists

The "Penetration" format is an artist's act of placing an artwork within another artist's exhibition. The Penetration is a solution to avoid the lateness of bureaucratic art institutions, by circulating space between the actors – artist to artist. A penetration is not only meant as a shortcut, but also a beneficial collaboration. The format has been seen at the Athens Biennial Emergency Room, at the Istanbul Biennial, at the Venice Biennial in 2007 (by Biennalist), at the Venice Biennial in 2009 (penetrations at the Venezuelan Pavilion with Daniel Medina, at the Finnish Pavilion with Jussi Kivi and at the Belgian boat with Jacques Charlier, curated by Enrico Lunghi).

Geoffroy's "Extracteur" format involves sending a person (character) to create a photographic collection of personal experience. It is designed to “retake the right to reread and reorganise the representation of the world" as a reaction to social media's collection of private information. He first used the format during the 2011 Venice Biennale.

The "Awareness Muscle" format's goal is to train the collective "muscle of awareness". It uses the act of physical training as a metaphor for consciousness and critical thinking training.

The "Biennalist" format concurrently comments on active biennals and managed cultural events through group discussion.

Geoffroy has also made several productions for Danish national television DR2. Among these the programs "Capitain" (1999), ”Immigranten” (2001), “Photographe“ (2002) and "Protest Underwear" (2005). The choice of media is frequently changing and is usually concerned with the contemporary. Newspapers, radio, fashion industry, telephones, internet domains, parties, music festivals, performance, myspace and facebook are among the elements of the artists crossmedia praxis.

Central to the philosophy of Thierry Geoffroy seems to be the concern that contemporary artists have an obligation to confront current themes (“emergencies”). This is especially evident in his Emergency Room and Awareness Muscle formats.

Parallel to the artists conceptual format art work, he has also worked with topics such as immigration, multiculturalism, colonialism, tourism, hypocrisy, and the role of the artist.


Manifest on 5 Types of Moving Exhibitions 1989
Emergency Room Format MoMA / PS1 2007
Thierry Geoffroy's critical run at Moderna Museet, Stockholm
  • Manifeste Moving Exhibition, Katalog, Brandts Klædefabrik, Odense, Denmark, 1989
  • Sport Art Manifeste, Katalog, Brandts Klædefabrik, Odense, Denmark, 1991
  • Sport Art Manifeste, Bildtidningen(S), 1991
  • Colour Manifeste, Zoom,(F), März 1991
  • Le conclusionisme, L‘Alliance (BKK) (1992)
  • In dialogue with Northern Africa, Manifesta 8, Murcia 2010


  • Thierry Geoffroy/Colonel. The Cultural Ministry Book Award 1995, Rhodos Edition, Copenhagen, Denmark 1995.
  • Colonel, Strategies d´existence, Edition Rhodos, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1996.
  • Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel, Tourists in Thailand, Edition Rhodos, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1997.
  • Colonel - Avoir l’air, med tekster af Line Rosenvinge og Rune Gade, NIFCA (Hrsg.), Helsinki 2002.
  • Emergency Room Dictionary by Thierry Geoffroy, Revolver Publishing
  • Thierry Geoffroy/Colonel. 'Can an Art Show Like dOCUMENTA Be Dangerous ?' in continent. 2.3 (2012): 224-228.


  1. ^ a b Dewille, James (21 February 2007). "Live From N.Y., It's Yesterday's News". Columbia Daily Spectator (New York). Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "The Art of News (video)". Reuters. 27 February 2007. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Thomas, Cyril (13 November 2008). "Le remède à la morosité : EMERGENCY ROOM (in French)". Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Minder, Raphael (22 October 2010). "In Spain, Bifurcation at the Biennale". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Thierry Geoffroy/ Colonel, retrieved February 15, 2013
  6. ^ "El detective 'Colombo' llega a Manifesta 8 (in Spanish)". 7 September 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "El artista francés Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel investiga en Murcia la situación del diálogo con el norte de África". Manifesta 8. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 

External links[edit]