By Alex Stuart
On the occasion of Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn’s exhibition at Villa Stuck, Munich (running until 3rd February if you get the chance to go), let’s take a look at his oeuvre. Hirschhorn choice to become an artist derived from his feeling of political responsibility; an ambition to create universal, inclusive artworks that expressed his communist views. He rejected art he found to be too formalist and the creation of art for art’s sake. This resulted in apocalyptic, sprawling installations, which are large-scale and fully immersive.
For example, in his current show ’Never Give up the Spot', visitors can sit amongst the ruins and engage with the computers, books, printer and other interactive materials provided. Coined the ‘Anti-Museum’, this engagement represents the rise of a non-hierarchical culture out of the ruins he created out of household debris. It also demonstrates Hirschhorn’s distaste towards art that mystifies and intimidates the viewer.
Ever felt completely alienated by some bizarre piece of modern art? You’re not alone! Here are two mini-documentaries about his installation exhibitions in the Bronx, New York and at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, during which Hirschhorn was present throughout, talking to visitors, reading aloud and giving interviews. As he says in the film: “Flamme Éternelle is based on presence and production, so I’ve been present every day, and I’ve been producing every day."