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Born: 1957, Bern, Switzerland
Lives and Works: Paris, France
Thomas Hirschhorn produces impassioned, voracious, and deliberately overabundant sculptural works, public projects, and immersive environments in incredible proliferation. His frequently confrontational art is dedicated to resistance and the voicing of his discontent with contemporary politics and public discourse, while at the same time trusting in the transformative potential of art and philosophy. Shunning associations with "fine art," Hirschhorn uses rudimentary packaging materials, such as cardboard, tape, plywood, and polystyrene; and he frequently festoons his tableaux with images of advertisements, pornography, and global news journalism, as well as copious photocopied texts from radical writers like Georges Bataille and Antonio Negri. Cavemanman (2002) is a sprawling, shambolic network of cardboard caves, a spectacular information-crammed labyrinth of slogans and tableaux concerning Iraq-war militarism and martyrdom, sadomasochism, and materialistic greed. This unforgiving environment follows what the artist has called "archaeologies"--works that excavate and examine the brutality and consumerism of our time. Harrowing images deal, for Hirschhorn, in a condition of such intensity and turmoil that they offer a chance to not understand--their value lies precisely in resisting explanation and euphemism.