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.[2] In 1989 he wrote a manifest on five types of moving exhibitions (Manifeste – Les differents Types de moving Exhibitions).[3] 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 City.[4] 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]

Emergency Room Format MoMA / PS1 2007

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][5] Athens, Hanoi, Johannesburg, Napoli and Paris (where over 150 artists took part).[6]


Biennalist is another Art Format by Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel, concurrently commenting on active biennals and managed cultural events through artworks.[7] Biennalist takes the thematics of the biennales and similar events like documenta, festivals and conferences seriously, questioning the established structures of the staged art events in order to contribute to the debate, which they wish to generate.[8] Often the pertinence of the themes of the biennales is tested on location.[9] Biennalist has been activated at the Istanbul Biennial 2007, Venice Biennale 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015, Athens Biennale 2007 and 2011, Biennale of Sydney 2010, Sarema Biennale 1997, Rotterdam Biennale 1990, U-Turn Quadriennale 2008, Manifesta 2010 and Liverpool Biennial 2010.[10]

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). The "Penetration" format was also activated at Manifesta 8 in Murcia.[11][12] Here the format took place in a 'Penetration Room', combining Geoffroy's "penetration" art.[13] The 2010 Biennale took the theme of "North Africa" and Geoffroy invited North African artists to intervene (or penetrate) the exhibition space.[14]

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.

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
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


  • 2010, "Emergency Room Dictionary", Revolver, ISBN 978-3-86895-093-9, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
  • 2005, "Self-measurements of Scottishness", text by Claudia Zeiske and Kevin Henderson
  • 2002, "Avoir l' air", Forlaget Nifca, text by Rune Gade and Line Rosenvinge, Helsinki The Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art 2002
  • 1997, "Tourists in Thailand", Rhodos Forlag
  • 1996, "Strategies d´exsistence", ISBN 877245456949 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN., Rhodos Publishing
  • 1995, Kulturministeriets Fotografiske Bogpris


  • 2003, "Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres"
  • 2002, 3 years working grant from The National Arts Council
  • 1995, Kulturministeriets Fotografiske Bogpris

Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 2013-2014, "In advance of the broken arm ?" Gallery Marianne Fries, Copenhagen
  • 2011, Art Format: Emergency Room Poland, guest: Emergency Artists
  • 2011, Art Format: Emergency Room Vietnam, University of fine arts, guest: Emergency Artists
  • 2009, "Artistes de Garde" at gallery Poulsen, Copenhagen, guest: the Yes Men and Emergency Artists
  • 2009, Art Format: Emergency Room Hanoi, University of fine arts with Emergency Artists
  • 2009, PAN / NAPOLI format "Emergency Room Napoli"
  • 2008, Art Format Emergency Room / Paris at Galerie Taiss
  • 2008, Fotografisk center / Copenhagen "Gymnastic Mediatic"
  • 2007, MoMA PS1, New York City " Emergency Room" with emergency artists
  • 2007, "Biennalist" at the Venice Biennale
  • 2007, "A Great Painter", Gallery Asbaek, Copenhagen
  • 2007, Blackwood Gallery, Toronto, curated by Seamus Kealy
  • 2007, Gallery Ileana Tounta, with emergency artist
  • 2006, "Emergency Room the Berlin test", Gallerie Olaf Stüber, Berlin, with emergency artists
  • 2006, Kunsthallen Nikolaj / Denmark, "Emergency Room" with Frank Franzen and with emergency artists
  • 2006, Ovegaden / Institute for contemporary art, "Biocolonialism" with Khaled Ramadan
  • 2005, "Isolation", IKM Museum, Oslo, Norway
  • 2004, "The curator lifting competition" Nikolaj art center (DK), from the Venice Biennale
  • 2004, "A pair of Genes", Stadtische Galerie Ravensburg (DE)
  • 2004, "Avoir l´air", Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands
  • 2004, "And Finally" Deveron Arts, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
  • 2004, "Colonel peintre de la justice", The Showrrom FDK /DK
  • 2003, Galerie Olaf Stüber, Berlin, June 2003
  • 2003, Berlin, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (DE)
  • 2003, "The cheating fashion", Gallery Pio Diaz (DK)
  • 2003, Helsingør Biblioteker, "The ultra fast exhibition" (DK)
  • 2002, Sprengel Museum, Hannover (DE)
  • 2001, Artspace Rhizom (DK)
  • 2000, Fotografisk Center (DK)
  • 2000, Det Nationale Fotomuseum (DK)
  • 1999, Nikolaj Udstillingscenter (DK)
  • 1999, Frederiksborg Castle (DK)
  • 1999, Traneudstilling Gentofte Hovebibliotek (DK)
  • 1997, Saaremaa Biennale, "Invasion", Estonia
  • 1996, Moderna Museet, Stockholm
  • 1996, Galerie Brott Fabrik, Berlin
  • 1996, Færgen Kronborg (DK)
  • 1996, Galleri Billedhuset, (DK)
  • 1995, Fotofeis, Scotland
  • 1995, Fotografisk Galleri (DK)
  • 1994, Galleri Billedhuset (DK)
  • 1994, Gallerie Pascal Lesnes, Paris
  • 1993, Fotografisk Galleri (DK)
  • 1993, Kunstakademiets Bibliotek (DK)
  • 1990, Galleri Billedhuset (DK)


  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. ^ Milosevic, Nikola. "Thierry Geoffroy". WideWalls. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  3. ^ Friis, Morten. "En flytbar fest". Tusind Øjne. (in Danish). Denmark. First published 1989. Retrieved 13 March 2017. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ "MoMA PS1: Exhibitions: Emergency Room". Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  5. ^ "The Art of News (video)". Reuters. 27 February 2007. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  6. ^ Thomas, Cyril (13 November 2008). "Le remède à la morosité : EMERGENCY ROOM (in French)". Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  7. ^ Pearce, Melissa. "The Portable Nation: The Republic of the Maldives at the 55th Venice Biennale". Culture Trip. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  8. ^ Kealy, Séamus. "Project Biennalist by Thierry Geoffroy/Colonel". Cmagazine. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  9. ^ Globalart. "Is the Contemporary Already Too Late? The BIENNALIST in Athen - The Global Contemporary". ZKM The Museum of Contemporary Art. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Biennalist". Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  11. ^ Minder, Raphael (22 October 2010). "In Spain, Bifurcation at the Biennale". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  12. ^ Thierry Geoffroy/ Colonel, retrieved February 15, 2013
  13. ^ "El detective 'Colombo' llega a Manifesta 8 (in Spanish)". 7 September 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  14. ^ "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]

Media related to Thierry Geoffroy at Wikimedia Commons