Swiss Pavilion, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, 2011
Photo Romain Lopez, Courtesy: the artist
This year at the 54th Biennale di Venezia, Thomas Hirschhorn was chosen to represent the Swiss Pavilion. His project, Crystal of Resistance, is an environmental installation that encompasses the entire interior of the designated space. If not familiar with Hirschhorn, the Swiss born artist makes work that comments heavily on global occurrences; ranging from war to commercialism. As one enters the space, he/she is greeted by an organized chaos, objects covered with crystals and intertwined with photographic imagery of war.
Everyday items have been placed on crudely constructed shelves and walls covered in tin foil. As is usual with Hirschhorn installations, Duct Tape is everywhere and alludes to a binding material wrought with impermanence. The environment is almost like a living space and is both inviting and standoffish. Many visitors walked amongst the objects taking in the juxtapositions of familiarity in the recognizable (cell phones, beer cans, exercise bicycles) and the foreignness of death represented very candidly in the 4″ x 6″ photographs that are woven into almost every field of vision.
Thomas Hirschhorn forces the viewer to look at death. He compiles images from the Internet and other stock references and makes a visual narrative based on political disruption and strife along with items that for most would be considered to be excessive. For Crystal of Resistance he utilizes the shape and form of the crystal to reference love. In a New Age sensibility the crystals are taped to objects ranging from Barbie Dolls to cell phones in what almost appears to be a desperate notion of respite.
From the artists statement:
My work can only have effect if it has the capacity of transgressing the boundaries of the ‘personal’, of the academic, of the imaginary, of the circumstantial, of the context and of the contemplation. With Crystal of Resistance I want to cut a window, a door, an opening or simply a hole, into reality. That is the breakthrough that leads and carries everything along.
Thomas Hirschhorn: Crystal of Resistance is currently on view as part of the Biennale di Venezia, located in the Swiss Pavilion of the Giardini. It will be open to the public until November 27th, 2011.
All other photographs besides top mentioned, by author, taken with iPhone 4, 2011.