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Andrea Zittel

1965 | Escondido, United States
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American sculptor and multimedia artist.

Andrea Zittel graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and sculpture from the University of San Diego, followed by a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design. In the early 1990s she created her first Living Units, experimental housing units with a minimal and geometric design, which, in their compact format, contain everything needed to live: a bathroom, bed and kitchen are fitted into a box, foldable and portable, with wood the dominant raw material. Influenced by modern design and contemporary architecture, in 1992 she established A-Z Enterprise, which produced custom supplies, housing and vehicles, all personalized according to her clients’ personalities. The company was located in New York, in a house that acted as a space for living, manufacturing and exchanging; in 2000 she relocated the project to the middle of the California desert, where a community of artists have been put to work. In the tradition of land art and creators such as Walter De Maria, Zittel is directing the The High Desert Test Sites, a series of experimental art sites.

Blurring the line between art and life, she extended her area of inquiry to include her own lifestyle: dwelling, food and clothing (dresses with clean lines, made of natural materials, which she wears for an entire season). By doing so, she constantly reinvents her relationship with the domestic environment, tackling fundamental human needs. The functional and the practical take precedence over design. She also created A-Z Escape Vehicles, which are somewhat like small caravans that can accommodate one or two people, accessible through a hatch in the roof, and whose interiors are decorated with a rocky landscape made from fibreglass or a comfortable padded living room. Her work, intrinsically participatory and environmentally conscious, takes into account the human body and its dimensions, needs and desires. Her process is based on the requirement to live in the most enjoyable conditions, in harmony with the natural environment and in a self-sufficient manner. Zittel also produces paintings that are related to her other works. Her most significant projects include the Non-Manhattan Project, deployed in 1999 in Central Park. In 2008 she had a solo exhibition at the Schaulager in Basel.

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Mélanie Hamet

Translated from French by Toby Cayouette.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Andrea Zittel — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Andrea Zittel, A-Z 1994 Living Unit II, 1994, oven range, upholstery, utensils, saucepans, bowls, glass jars, 144.78 x 213.36 x 208.28 cm, collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, © Andrea Zittel

Andrea Zittel — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Andrea Zittel, A-Z Carpet Furniture: Office, 2008, carpet, 352.4 x 469.9 cm, MoMA, © Andrea Zittel

Andrea Zittel — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Andrea Zittel, A-Z Cellular Compartment Units Customized By Sammlung Goetz, 2002, steel, plywood, glass, © Photo: Wilfried Petzi, © Andrea Zittel

Andrea Zittel — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Andrea Zittel, Point of Interest — An A-Z Land Brand, 1999, gouache on paper, 38.1 x 50.8 cm, MoMA, © Andrea Zittel

Andrea Zittel — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Andrea Zittel, sfnwvlei (something from nothing with very little effort involved) studies #1-6, 2002, gouache, felt-tip pen, colored pencil and pencil on paper, 30.5 x 22.9 cm, MoMA, © Andrea Zittel

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