Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition “Concordia, Concordia” by Thomas Hirschhorn. The exhibition features a large-scale work inspired by the sinking of the cruise ship Costa Concordia, which ran aground off the coast of Italy in January 2012.
As many people, I saw the pictures showing the inside of the sunken cruise ship Costa Concordia after the wreck. The floor emerging upright had become a wall, the wall was turned into a ceiling and the ceiling into the opposite wall. Every non-attached thing was floating in water, like a barricade in movement. A barricade made of all that points out the impassable and cumbersome inutility. I was struck by this apocalyptic upside down vision of the banal and cheap "nice, fake, and cozy" interior of the overturned ship. This pictures the uncertainty and precariousness of the past, of the present moment, and of the future. I saw it as an amusing and disturbing but nevertheless logical and convincing form. This must be the form of our contemporary disaster. This must be the ultimate expression of the precarious, which nobody wants to confront. "Get back on board, captain!" shouted the coast guard officer to the already safely landed captain of the Costa Concordia who refused to go back to his vessel. "Get back on board!" means there is definitely no escape – we have to confront the self-produced disaster in its incredible normality – there is no way out, there is no place to flee, there is no safe land anymore! This is the starting point that made me think of and start out to conceive the work "Concordia, Concordia."
I want to do something Big. To do something Big does not mean to do something monumental or gigantic. If something is Big, it’s because it needs to be Big. One must understand that necessity as such or within its own logic. That’s why, when making things Big, I do it myself, with my own hands, with my own materials, with my own visual vocabulary and with my own work. I do it in order to avoid the "Blow-Up" effect and I do it to avoid falling into the trap of "Pumping the Size." I want to do a Big work to show that the saying "Too Big to Fail" no longer makes any sense. On the contrary, when something is Too Big, it must Fail – this is what I want to give Form to. I want to understand this as a logic and this is the Form! This is what I want to explore, it is the grounding of my new work “Concordia, Concordia.” “Concordia, Concordia” brings back to mind the disastrous wreck of the cruise ship Costa Concordia and the images of the immersed ship in its confusing architecture. The flooded casino of consumption stands for evidence: the evidence of a coming disaster and the evidence of an announced failure. This is “Concordia, Concordia.”
– Thomas Hirschhorn
Hirschhorn's work is being presented concurrently by the Dia Art Foundation in “Timeline: Work in Public Space,” from September 15 – November 3, 2012 at 541 West 22nd Street, the site of the future Dia:Chelsea project space. The exhibition features a new large-scale collage of images, written statements, and text excerpts chronicling the artist’s interventions at urban and rural sites and is being presented in anticipation of Hirschhorn’s Gramsci Monument, the fourth and final project of Hirschhorn's Monument series, that Dia will present in summer 2013 in the Bronx or at another location in New York City.
A Conversation with Thomas Hirschhorn and Hal Foster, Townsend Martin '17 Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, will relaunch the Dia Discussions in Contemporary Culture series, on Saturday, September 15, at 6:30 pm.
Thomas Hirschhorn was born in 1957 in Bern, Switzerland, and now lives and works in Paris. His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museu d'Art Contemporani, Barcelona; Kunsthaus Zürich; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; and Secession, Vienna. In 2003 he created the Musée Précaire Albinet, a temporary "Presence and Production" project in Aubervilliers, France. Additionally, he has taken part in many international group exhibitions, including the 2012 La Triennale at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris; the Swiss Pavilion of the 2011 Venice Biennale with his work Crystal of Resistance, Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany, where his large-scale public work, Bataille Monument, was on view; “Heart of Darkness” at the Walker Art Center; and “Life on Mars: the 55th Carnegie International.” Hirschhorn was the recipient of the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2000, the Joseph Beuys-Preis in 2004 and the Kurt Schwitters Prize in 2011.