"Born 1938 in Boulogne-Billancourt. Lives and works in situ." This brief piece of biographical information is what Buren himself chooses to give, something which defines the principle of his work.

Since 30 years, the artist who today lives in Paris has been creating his works in situ - for a specific site, the particular appearance of which he thus visualises. The works cannot be detached from their contexts and therefore mostly possess an ephemeral character. For this reason they also resist being appropriated by the art business.

In the beginning of the 60s, Buren at first developed canvas paintings with regularly-striped patterns. The vertical stripes, always having the same breadth, and in white and another colour, served as a means to reduce the pictures to object-like, material qualities, thus questioning the fundaments of painting. The negation of a personal artistic style went even further, when Buren replaced his canvases with standard awning fabrics or paper foils. Stripes as "visual tool" are "no longer a work to be seen, to be looked at, but the element that allows something else to be seen". Since the 70s, Buren has been modifying his works using mirrors, glass and other transparent materials such as foils or Plexiglass. The aspect of reflection and transparency serves not only to enhance the colour range and alter the appearance, but also renders significant for the work the immaterial factor of light. The stringency and radicality of his working method also become clear in the Buren's numerous art-theoretical texts.

For Portikus, Buren has developed a concept dealing with the architecture of the exhibition hall. The space is characterised by a rectangular ground-plan and a skylight made of opaline glass panes supported by grid-like metal struts. Buren constructs two cube-shaped rooms behind each other placed axially beneath the skylight. The walls consist of a wooden grating, the inner fields of which are covered with Plexiglass panes the same size as those of the skylight. Like a chequer-board pattern, fields with transparent panes alternate with fields covered by transparent red, blue, and yellow foil, and fields with black foil. Each wall is reduced to one colour. Both rooms have passages on all four sides so that an alignment is created along the longitudinal axis. The unity of the rooms is thus again dissolved by these openings and the permeability of the walls. Squares with the same colours are also attached to the walls of the exhibition space opposite the fields of the grated rooms, but in a staggered arrangement. As if through an "explosion", the colour fields seem to have been blasted from the centre to the edges. The symmetry of these structures, the way they are fitted into the exhibition space creating its new centre, and the axiality in the lines of sight refer to the dialectics of inside and outside, openness and enclosure. The dematerialization of the object in the mixture of colour and transparency plays with the way the work is visually and physically experienced. Perception and sight themselves thus become the object of contemplation.