Thomas Hirschhorn

Thomas Hirschhorn (b. 1957) is a Swiss artist known for large sculptures and ambitious projects, often constructed of everyday, makeshift materials.

  • Critical Laboratory

    Critical Laboratory

    The Writings of Thomas Hirschhorn

    Thomas Hirschhorn, Lisa Lee, and Hal Foster

    Writings by Thomas Hirschhorn, collected for the first time, trace the development of the artist's ideas and artistic strategies.

    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.

    • Hardcover $44.95 £38.00

Contributor

  • The Terror of Evidence

    The Terror of Evidence

    Marcus Steinweg

    Meditations, maxims, aphorisms, notes, and comments address topics that range from pathos and genius to careerism and club sandwiches.

    Marcus Steinweg's capacity to implicate the other is beautiful, bright, precise, and logical, grounded in everyday questions, which to him are always big questions.—from the foreword by Thomas Hirschhorn

    The houses of philosophy need not be palaces.—Marcus Steinweg, “House,” The Terror of Evidence

    This is the first book by the prolific German philosopher Marcus Steinweg to be available in English translation. The Terror of Evidence offers meditations, maxims, aphorisms, notes, and comments—191 texts ranging in length from three words to three pages—the deceptive simplicity of which challenges the reader to think. “Thinking means getting lost again and again,” Steinweg observes. Reality is the ever-broken promise of consistency; “the terror of evidence” arises from the inconsistency before our eyes. Thinking is a means of coping with that inconsistency.

    Steinweg is known for his collaborations with Thomas Hirschhorn and the lectures and texts he has provided for many of Hirschhorn's projects. This translation of The Terror of Evidence includes a foreword by Hirschhorn written especially for the MIT Press edition.

    The subjects of these short texts vary widely. (“The table of contents is in itself excessive and ambitious,” writes Hirschhorn.) They include pathos, passivity, genius, resentment, love, horror, catastrophe, and racism. And club sandwiches (specifically, Foucault's love for this American specialty), blow jobs, and dance. Also: “Two Kinds of Obscurantism,” “Putting Words in Spinoza's Mouth,” “Note on Rorty,” and “Doubting Doubt.” The Terror of Evidence can be considered a guidebook to thinking: the daily journey of exploration, the incessant questioning of reality that Steinweg sees as the task of philosophy.

    • Paperback $17.95 £14.99
  • Practicable

    Practicable

    From Participation to Interaction in Contemporary Art

    Samuel Bianchini and Erik Verhagen

    Critical analyses, case studies, and artist interviews examine works of art that are realized with the physical involvement of the viewer.

    How are we to understand works of art that are realized with the physical involvement of the viewer? A relationship between a work of art and its audience that is rooted in an experience that is both aesthetic and physical? Today, these works often use digital technologies, but artists have created participatory works since the 1950s. In this book, critics, writers, and artists offer diverse perspectives on this kind of “practicable” art that bridges contemplation and use, discussing and documenting a wide variety of works from the last several decades. The contributors consider both works that are technologically mediated and those that are not, as long as they are characterized by a process of reciprocal exchange.

    The book offers a historical frame for practicable works, discussing, among other things, the emergence and influence of cybernetics. It examines art movements and tendencies that incorporate participatory strategies; draws on the perspectives of the humanities and sciences; and investigate performance and exhibition. Finally, it presents case studies of key works by artists including and offers interviews with such leading artists and theoreticians as Claire Bishop, Thomas Hirschhorn, Matt Adams of Blast Theory, Seiko Mikami and Bruno Latour. Numerous illustrations of artists and their works accompany the text.

    Contributors Matt Adams (Blast Theory), Jean-Christophe Bailly, Samuel Bianchini, Claire Bishop, Jean-Louis Boissier, Nicolas Bourriaud, Christophe Charles, Valérie Châtelet, Jean-Pierre Cometti, Sarah Cook, Jordan Crandall, Dominique Cunin, Nathalie Delbard, Anna Dezeuze, Diedrich Diederichsen, Christophe Domino, Larisa Dryansky, Glória Ferreira, Jean-Paul Fourmentraux, Gilles Froger, Masaki Fujihata, Jean Gagnon, Katrin Gattinger, Jochen Gerz, Piero Gilardi, Véronique Goudinoux, Usman Haque, Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen (HeHe), Jeppe Hein, Thomas Hirschhorn, Marion Hohlfeldt, Pierre-Damien Huyghe, Judith Ickowicz, Eric Kluitenberg, Janet Kraynak, Bruno Latour, Christophe Leclercq, Frédérik Lesage, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Peter Lunenfeld, Lawrence Malstaf, Julie Martin, Seiko Mikami, Dominique Moulon, Hiroko Myokam, Ernesto Neto, Mayumi Okura, Eddie Panier, Françoise Parfait, Simon Penny, Daniel Pinkas, Chantal Pontbriand, Emanuele Quinz, Margit Rosen, Alberto Sánchez Balmisa, Frederik Schikowski, Arnd Schneider, Madeline Schwartzman, Luke Skrebowski, Vanessa Theodoropoulou, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Andrea Urlberger, Erik Verhagen, Franz Erhard Walther, Peter Weibel, Renate Wiehager, Catherine Wood, Giovanna Zapperi, Anne Zeitz, David Zerbib

    Edited by Samuel Bianchini and Erik Verhagen with the collaboration of Nathalie Delbard and Larisa Dryansky.

    • Hardcover $55.00 £45.00
  • Utopias

    Utopias

    Richard Noble

    Utopian strategies in contemporary art seen in the context of the histories of utopian thinking and avant-garde art.

    Throughout its diverse manifestations, the utopian entails two related but contradictory elements: the aspiration to a better world, and the acknowledgement that its form may only ever live in our imaginations. Furthermore, we are as haunted by the failures of utopian enterprise as we are inspired by the desire to repair the failed and build the new. Contemporary art reflects this general ambivalence. The utopian impulse informs politically activist and relational art, practices that fuse elements of art, design, and architecture, and collaborative projects aspiring to progressive social or political change. Two other tendencies have emerged in recent art: a looking backward to investigate the utopian elements of previous eras, and the imaginative modeling of alternative worlds as intimations of possibility. This anthology contextualizes these utopian currents in relation to political thought, viewing the utopian as a key term in the artistic lineage of modernity. It illuminates how the exploration of utopian themes in art today contributes to our understanding of contemporary cultures, and the possibilities for shaping their futures.

    Artistis surveyed include Joseph Beuys, Paul Chan, Guy Debord, Jeremy Deller, Liam Gillick, Antony Gormley, Dan Graham, Thomas Hirschhorn, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Bodys Isek Kingelez, Paul McCarthy, Constant A. Nieuwenheuys, Paul Noble, Nils Norman, Philippe Parreno, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Superflex, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Mark Titchner, Atelier van Lieshout, Jeff Wall, Andy Warhol, Wochenklauser, Carey Young.

    Writers include Theodor Adorno, Jennifer Allen, Catherine Bernard, Ernst Bloch, Yve-Alain Bois, Nicolas Bourriaud, Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, Alex Farquharson, Hal Foster, Michel Foucault, Alison Green, Fredric Jameson, Rosalind Krauss, Hari Kunzru, Donald Kuspit, Dermis P. Leon, Karl Marx, Jeremy Millar, Thomas More, William Morris, Molly Nesbit, Hans Ulrich Obrist, George Orwell, Jacques Rancière, Stephanie Rosenthal, Beatrix Ru.

    • Paperback $24.95
  • The Archive

    The Archive

    Charles Merewether

    The significance of the archive in modernity and in contemporary art; writings by Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault, Hal Foster, and others, and essays on the archival practice of such artists as Gerhard Richter, Christian Boltanski, Renée Green, and The Atlas Group.

    In the modern era, the archive—official or personal—has become the most significant means by which historical knowledge and memory are collected, stored, and recovered. The archive has thus emerged as a key site of inquiry in such fields as anthropology, critical theory, history, and, especially, recent art. Traces and testimonies of such events as World War II and ensuing conflicts, the emergence of the postcolonial era, and the fall of communism have each provoked a reconsideration of the authority given the archive—no longer viewed as a neutral, transparent site of record but as a contested subject and medium in itself.

    This volume surveys the full diversity of our transformed theoretical and critical notions of the archive—as idea and as physical presence—from Freud's "mystic writing pad" to Derrida's "archive fever"; from Christian Boltanski's first autobiographical explorations of archival material in the 1960s to the practice of artists as various as Susan Hiller, Ilya Kabakov, Thomas Hirshhorn, Renée Green, and The Atlas Group in the present.

    Not for sale in the UK and Europe.

    • Paperback $24.95
  • Participation

    Participation

    Claire Bishop

    Art that seeks to produce situations in which relations are formed among viewers is placed in historical and theoretical context in key writings by critics and artists.

    The desire to move viewers out of the role of passive observers and into the role of producers is one of the hallmarks of twentieth-century art. This tendency can be found in practices and projects ranging from El Lissitzky's exhibition designs to Allan Kaprow's happenings, from minimalist objects to installation art. More recently, this kind of participatory art has gone so far as to encourage and produce new social relationships. Guy Debord's celebrated argument that capitalism fragments the social bond has become the premise for much relational art seeking to challenge and provide alternatives to the discontents of contemporary life. This publication collects texts that place this artistic development in historical and theoretical context.

    Participation begins with writings that provide a theoretical framework for relational art, with essays by Umberto Eco, Bertolt Brecht, Roland Barthes, Peter Bürger, Jen-Luc Nancy, Edoaurd Glissant, and Félix Guattari, as well as the first translation into English of Jacques Rancière's influential "Problems and Transformations in Critical Art." The book also includes central writings by such artists as Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, Joseph Beuys, Augusto Boal, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. And it features recent critical and curatorial debates, with discussions by Lars Bang Larsen, Nicolas Bourriaud, Hal Foster, and Hans-Ulrich Obrist.

    Copublished with Whitechapel Art Gallery, London

    • Paperback $24.95