Claude Rutault was born in 1941 in Trois-Moutiers, in France. He lives and works near Paris.
He describes himself as a painter; and indeed, viewing any one of his pieces is uncontroversially an encounter with paint on canvas. Rutault, however, does not paint his pieces himself; and neither is he in the business of overseeing their production on the model of a producer, designer, or director running a factory, studio, or workshop. Instead, the mainspring of Rutault’s practice is the writing and issuing of a set of rules, caveats, instructions and procedures called “de-finition/methods,” according to which a gallery, collector, or institution—known as the “charge-taker”—agrees to “actualize” a given work. The first of these de-finition/methods, created in 1973, provided the germ for the hundreds of unique works to follow.