Claire Oboussier

Born in London in 1963, Claire Oboussier was placed in care at birth and subsequently adopted by her parents, an architect and a musician. Brought up in Devon, Oboussier went on to study French in the School of African and Asian Studies at the University of Sussex,  graduating in 1986. She met and married Vong Phaophanit during a year studying in Paris in 1985. In 1991 Oboussier was awarded the Dyment and Thomas Scholarship for Doctoral Research in the Arts and Humanities at the University of Bristol where she taught French Feminist Literature and Theory and set up and ran the Interdisciplinary Critical Theory seminar for faculty. Her doctoral thesis was on French critical theory in the visual field. Completed in 1994, it explored the poetic and theoretical intersections of the visual and verbal realms.

Alongside her academic and critical writing Oboussier maintained a studio practice using a range of media from the written/spoken word to film, sound and sculptural elements. From 1998-2002 she was a member of the Executive Committee for the pioneering magazine MAKE which provided a platform for under-represented women’s art practice, subsequently becoming an editorial advisor. During these years she also worked experimentally with digital images and sounds from prisons for a multi-screen installation entitled ‘Doing Time’. Oboussier has been an invited speaker at symposia internationally and also written extensively on, and in parallel with, Phaophanit’s work, collaborating with him on the film ‘All that’s solid melts into air (Karl Marx)’ and the book ‘Atopia’ for which she wrote the text.

Throughout her early career Oboussier maintained a close creative dialogue with Phaophanit and they frequently collaborated on projects together. From the late 1990s the duo began the process of formally unifying their practices and went on to create their current shared studio.


Born: 1963, London.

Lives and works in London, UK.




PhD, French critical theory in the visual field/Philosophy, University of Bristol, UK.


Dyment and Thomas Scholarship for Doctoral Research in the Arts and Humanities, University of Bristol, UK.


BA. Hons, French Literature/cultural theory in the School of African and Asian Studies, University of Sussex, UK.


Exhibitions / Commissions


Borderless Permanent Commission for The Cleveland Clinic, London HQ


Singapore Biennale 2019. New Commissioned work Never Real Historians, always Near Poets, 4K Ultra video installation (collection of Singapore Art Museum)

Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins, London. Counter Acts

Framer Framed Gallery Amsterdam NL, Unauthorised Medium


The Call of Things, Fen Court, 10 Fenchurch Ave, London (Eric Parry Architects)
Ultra 4K LED Video installation with Soundscape
Commissioned By Assicurazioni Generali Group

Wild Way, Competition winners for major public commission, Hyde Park Corner, London. Commissioned by Grosvenor and HSH. Art consultant: Modus Operandi.

In Other Words, Cambridge Assessments HQ (Eric Parry Architects), University of Cambridge, UK. Commissioned by the University of Cambridge. Art consultant: Commission Projects.

White Neon Figure, Faculty of Islamic Studies, Doha, Qatar. Commissioned by the Faculty of Islamic Studies. Art consultant: Artscape Management.


Mekong New Mythologies, Pao Galleries, Hong kong Arts Centre
In aid of Children of the Mekong


IT IS AS IF, Block 336 Gallery, London. Commissioned by the Wellcome Trust.

The Line, Walmar House (RFK Architects), Regent Street, London, UK. Commissioned by Great Portland Estates. Art consultant: Artscape Management.

Dream House, Ïce Towers (architectsAlliance), Toronto, Canada. Commissioned by Lanterra. Winner of the ICE Public Art Project. Art consultant: Public Art Management, Toronto.


Apart we are together, Singapore Biennale. In association with Singapore Art Museum, Singapore.

Red Fringe, Parkside Place, Cambridge, UK. Commissioned by Grosvenor. Art consultant: Artscape Management.


Light Veils, Weymouth Esplanade, Weymouth, UK. Public commission for the 2012 Olympic Games. Commissioned by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. Art consultant: workingpArts.

Weir, Toronto, Canada. Finalist for the Pier 27 Public Art Project. Art consultant: Public Art Management, Toronto.


Mute Meadow, Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Winner of the ‘Foyle Public Art Project’. Commissioned by Ilex. Art consultant: Arts Council, Northern Ireland.

Coronium, The Kilden New Performing Arts Centre, Kristiansand, Norway. Commissioned by KORO. Art consultant: KORO.


‘Outside In’, SW1 Gallery, London. UK.

Canopy of Light, Woolwich Squares, London. Winner of the New Woolwich Squares art commission. Art consultant: Modus Operandi.


Light Curtain, Hull Truck Theatre building (Wright + Wright Architects), Hull, UK. Commissioned by Hull Truck Theatre. Art consultant: Andrew Knight.

‘Unreal Asia’, 55th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany.

The Tropics, the National Gallery of Cape Town. South Africa.

Light Skin, Olympic Energy Centre, London. Art consultant: CIA art consultants.


‘All that’s solid melts into air’ (Karl Marx)’ , The Light Box, Tate Britain, London, UK. Commissioned by The Quiet In The Land. Tate Collection.

The Tropics, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany.

Northern Light, winning artists for the Channel 4 Big Art Project, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

All the world is two, Broadmead, Bristol, UK. Commissioned by Bristol Alliance. Art consultant: Insite Arts.

Vocal Chords, winning artists for Thomas Tallis School commisson, London UK. Art consultant: Modus Operandi.


Topography of Dreams, temporary public commission for Birmingham Festival, Birmingham, UK. Curator: Robin Dobson.


 The Animators, Arts Council Touring Exhibition:

Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, UK.

SPACEX Gallery, Exeter, UK.

Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, UK.

‘All that’s solid melts into air (Karl Marx)’, The Royal Palace Museum, Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. Commissioned by The Quiet In The Land. Tate Collection.


Bay Windows, Herne Bay, UK. Commissioned by Canterbury City Council. Temporary public commission as part of ‘Sparks – Make it Real’ cultural programme. Art consultant: Insite Arts.

Life Lines, Pier Hill, Southend on Sea, UK. Commissioned by Southend City Council. Art consultant: Commissions East. 

Outhouse, Woolton, Liverpool, UK. Commissioned by Liverpool Housing Action Trust / Guinness Trust. Art consultant: Modus Operandi.

Pipe dream, City and Islington College (Wilkinson Eyre Architects), London, UK. Commissioned by City and Islington College. Art consultant: Modus Operandi.

Pools of Light, Consultant artists for the redevelopment of Poole Harbour with Idea Architects and B+B UK Landscapers, Poole Harbour, UK.

Atopia, commissioned art book for DAAD Publications, Berlin, Germany.


Scan, video installation in collaboration with Vong Phaophanit and Greg Pope, commissioned by Rosemary Butcher Dance Company. First shown at Jerwood Gallery, London followed by European Tour. London Film Makers Coop, UK.


Third eye Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland.


Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, Wales.


Red Herring Gallery, Brighton, UK.


Publications / Catalogue Essays


ArtAsiaPacific Almanac 2016

 Catherine Wilon



Art Monthly: Issue 387 (June 2015) – ‘Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier: IT IS AS IF’

David Barrett




Mute Meadow


Exploring Site-specific Art: Issues of Space and Internationalism

Judith Rugg, I.B. Taurus, 2010

(ISBN: 9781848850644)

Art and Asia Pacific Almanac, Volume 5

ArtAsiaPacific Publishing LLC, 2010


The Quiet In The Land (Publication) 

France Morin and John Alan Farmer

The Quiet In The Land Inc. 2009


The Tropics: Views from the Middle of the Globe

Goethe-institut / Kerber Art. Berlin, Germany.


Thermocline of art: new Asian waves

Peter Weibel, Gregor Jansen, Museum für Neue Kunst (Karlsruhe, Germany)

ZKM, Center for Art and Media


Sparks – Make it real

InSite Arts Ltd.

(ISBN: 0-9547300-3-8)

The Animators

Angela Kingston

Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, 2006

(ISBN: 0-905634-76-4)



Vong Phaophanit & Claire Oboussier

DAAD Publications, Berlin, Germany.

Sculpture in 20th Century Britain: A guide to sculptors in the Leeds collections
Volume 2 of Sculpture in 20th Century Britain

Penelope Curtis

Henry Moore Institute

‘Vong Phaophanit’ in ’20th Century British Sculpture’

Henry Moore Institute Publications, Leeds, UK.


‘Vong Phaophanit’ in ‘Transmission: Speaking and Listening’

Sheffield Hallam University.


In between

 Wimbledon School of Art Publications, London, UK.


To truly see something we must forget its name

 The Third Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art

Queensland Art Gallery Publications, Australia.

Beyond the future: the third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art

Queensland Art Gallery, Australia

(ISBN: 1876509668)



 South Bank Publications, London, UK.


Ash and Silk Wall

 Public Art Development Trust Publications, London, UK.



WIF Publications.

From Light

 Chambers Publications, Bristol, UK.

Things are the secret folds of my flesh

 De Appel Publications, Amsterdam, Holland.


Synaesthetic Writing

 Nottingham French Studies, vol 33, no.2, (Autumn).


What falls to the ground but can’t be eaten

 Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK.

Teaching / Lectures / Symposia


International Symposium, Oslo, Norway: Art in Public Space: A Critical Perspective


OCAD – Ontario College of Art and Design: The Making of Sense

The Rosewell Lecture: What do artists have to give?

Sussex University Art Lectures: The Making of Sense


Imperial War Museum: ‘Post-Conflict’ Culture: Derry ~ Londonderry


RSA – Royal Society of Arts: The Place of Art

Royal Academy Lectures: Sculpture and Architecture: The Contest to Control Space and Meaning


Chair: International Symposium, University of Bristol: Roland Barthes and the Visual World.


Tutor at University of Bristol, Department of French.

Founded the Interdisciplinary Critical Theory seminar for faculty at The University of Bristol.




Panel member for Birmingham City Hospital new art commissions.


Editorial advisor for MAKE magazine.


Member of Executive Committee for MAKE.