Critical Laboratory: The Writings of Thomas Hirschhorn (October Books)
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For the artist Thomas Hirschhorn, writing is a crucial tool at every stage of his artistic practice. From the first sketch of an idea to appeals to potential collaborators, from detailed documentation of projects to post-disassembly analysis, Hirschhorn's writings mark the trajectories of his work. This volume collects Hirschhorn's widely scattered texts, presenting many in English for the first time.
In these writings, Hirschhorn discusses the full range of his art, from works on paper to the massive Presence and Production projects in public spaces. "Statements and Letters" address broad themes of aesthetic philosophy, politics, and art historical commitments. "Projects" consider specific artworks or exhibitions. "Interviews" capture the artist in dialogue with Benjamin Buchloh, Jacques Rancière, and others. Throughout, certain continuities emerge: Hirschhorn's commitment to quotidian materials; the centrality of political and economic thinking in his work; and his commitment to art in the public sphere. Taken together, the texts serve to trace the artist's ideas and artistic strategies over the past two decades. Critical Laboratory also reproduces, in color, 33 Ausstellungen im öffentlichen Raum 1998--1989, an out-of-print catalog of Hirschhorn's earliest works in public space.
Critical Laboratory OCTOBER Books George Baker, Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Leah Dickerman, Devin Fore, Hal Foster, Denis Hollier, Rosalind Krauss, Annette Michelson, Mignon Nixon, and Malcolm Turvey, editors For a complete list of books in the series, please see the back of the book. Critical Laboratory The Writings of Thomas Hirschhorn Thomas Hirschhorn Edited by Lisa Lee and Hal Foster An OCTOBER Book The MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts London, England © 2013 Thomas
history—as a work which aims to reach out of my milieu, beyond my history. I want—in and through my art—to address and confront universal concerns. Therefore I must work with what surrounds me, with what I know and with what affects me. I must not give in to the temptation of the particular, but on the contrary, I must try to touch universality. The particular, which always excludes, must be resisted. For me, this means that I want to do my work, the work that I am doing here and now, as a
a field of strength. Loss is not destruction, but loss is a form to impose, an economic balance based on human activity and not on capitalism. Bataille said there must be structure, there must be excess. Hope as a principle for taking action, for moving and going straight ahead. Hope does not mean “hopeful for something” or “hopefully something will happen.” Hope means hope as real Hope. To breathe—every second—is the physical translation of the Hope I mean. 10. Resistance Art is resistance,
aluminum foil is that very malleability that suggests the form of viruses. At the same time, as a roll, you can’t find any other material that’s flatter. So I use aluminum both as a support and as a connective element, echoing, because of its transformative potential, the Virus works in the exhibition. On the wall, there will be “windows,” in other words, surfaces that are not covered with aluminum, but rather with works that are protected by transparent plastic because they are not wrapped
works are not cataloged, that is, un plaintif can be un politique, or un bête can be un plaintif. It makes no difference knowing what’s what; nevertheless, the works are made according to one of these criteria. These names are just there to define what we’re talking about. Les plaintifs, les bêtes, les politiques are works I made with the intention of printing them at their actual size and in their actual color. I want them to exist as documents. Facsimiled and once printed, they disappear as