Visual artist and photographer, Bruce Clarke was born in London in 1959. His South African activist parents had recently chosen to leave their country for political reasons. It was at the Fine Arts School at Leeds University in the 1980’s that he was initiated to the Art and Language movement around Michael Baldwin, David Bainbridge, Terry Atkinson, Harold Hurrell. In the wake of these pioneering conceptual artists, Clarke’s work engages with contemporary history, the writing and transmission of this history and hopes to stimulate thought on the contemporary world and its representations. Deeply anchored in a school of critical figuration, his artistic research integrates codes finally to use them to criticize and demystify structures of power and injustice.
Bruce Clarke is a committed artist. An important figure in the anti-apartheid movement in France with the Rencontre Nationale Contre l’Apartheid, he became deeply involved in the mobilisation of the French public opinion against the South African apartheid regime on his arrival in Paris. In parallel he followed the evolution of the situation in Rwanda and the planned and proclaimed genocide, participating in the creation of a collective for solidarity with the Rwandese people. It was whilst doing a photo reportage in Rwanda for this collective in the days following the end of the genocide that he came face to face with the horrific reality. A few years later he started to work on the creation of a memorial site near Kigali, the Garden of Memory, a monumental installation project on-going since 2000, in close collaboration with survivors’ families, civil society associations and the Rwandese institutions as well as UNESCO. He is also working on a large scale mural project for the 20th commemoration of the genocide in Rwanda entitled Upright Men (www.uprightmen.org) in Rwanda and elsewhere in the world (Benin, Europe etc...)