Thomas Hirschhorn in the Kunsthalle Mannheim (DE)

Thomas Hirschhorn, It’s Burning Everywhere,
Installationsansicht Kunsthalle Mannheim 2011,
Foto: Cem Yücetas

April 2011

It's Burning Everywhere  - burning for art

"It's burning everywhere, there is a fire in the distance - it burns in my neighborhood, there is a fire in the conflict zone, my house is burning, I burn myself, there is no escape - I am the conflict zone"- says the Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn (born in 1957 in Bern, lives in Paris) when he talks about his work. Hirschhorn is one of the most important and most controversial representatives of international contemporary art. At this year’s Biennale in Venice, he will create the Swiss pavilion.

The Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany, will show Hirschhorn’s 200 m³ large collage It's Burning Everywhere from 12 March to 13 June 2011, with which the 3sat and Monopol artist joined the series Masterpieces of Contemporary Art.

If it burns everywhere, it burns in the museum. With the large-scale, sculptural collage It's Burning Everywhere, Thomas Hirschhorn continues at the Kunsthalle Mannheim the project he commenced in Scotland (DCA, Dundee) in 2009.

Obsessively, the artist collects, designs, builds, sticks, binds, wraps, and drapes a walk-in oversized room collage in a day-long material battle. He occupied the museum space with a precarious overwhelming- and over-exposing machine - an eerie totality of the present. "Chaos is the world in which I live, and chaos is the time in which I live," as Hirschhorn describes his motivation.

With tons of "poor" materials such as wood, cardboard, plastic, mannequins and tape, Hirschhorn turned exhibition space into an artificial conflict zone - an image of hot spots. A conglomeration of elements of different origin and meaning. Found objects, mass-produced or prepared for the installation of objects, copies and dummies with handwritten slogans, documentary photos and images from advertising magazines. Fragmented bodies, torsos, heads, legs, arms, hands and feet - a huge powerful symbol of the catastrophe. A flood of media images of individual and global sources of fire from magazines and Internet lines the way for exhibition visitors, moving as if through a minefield in the rugged terrain of the jungle.

Unlike almost any other, with his work, the repeated Biennale- and Documenta-participant puts not only the human condition, but also the complacency of the art world on display.

After Magdalena Jetelová’s statement on human rights and Enrique Marty's comment to fanaticism (2010), with Thomas Hirschhorn, the Kunsthalle Mannheim again focuses on an uncompromising and politically conscious representative of contemporary art.

The exhibition catalog includes essays by Graham Domke, David Joselit, Stefanie Müller.
Preface: Ulrike Lorenz and Judith Winter, German / English Soft Cover, 28 x 21 cm 128 pages, with numerous illustrations, 28 EUR, ISBN 978-3-86828-214-6, © 2010 Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg

Curator: Stefanie Müller

12 March to 13 June 2011

Kunsthalle Mannheim, Friedrich Platz 4, 68165 Mannheim (DE)