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First institutional solo exhibition by Thomas Hirschhorn in Berlin opens at Schinkel Pavillon
Thomas Hirschhorn, Höhere Gewalt, 2014. Installation view Schinkel Pavillon, 29.08. – 28.09.2014. Photo: Nina Pohl Courtesy Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin.
BERLIN.- Schinkel Pavillon presents the first institutional solo exhibition by Thomas Hirschhorn in Berlin. During the past twenty years the Swiss installation artist created a critical oeuvre questioning the concept of art, proposing a “critical body,” and involving “non-exclusive audiences”. Force Majeure continues the artist’s practice to transform the white cube into large-scale installations.

Hirschhorn converts the Schinkel Pavillon into a scene of accident. In contrast to artists shown at this venue before Hirschhorn does not add an artwork to the exhibition space. He in fact deconstructs the entire space: a collage-like sculpture composed of power cables, heating ducts and insulating material above the visitor’s head breaks its way into the space. The protective ceiling is collapsed. Force Majeure exposes the inner structures of the Schinkel Pavillon and challenges the integrity of the institution. The breakthrough not only desolates an architectural monument - the pavilion is a treasure of the postwar era - but also shatters the ideal protection of the institutional space. As a not for profit exhibition venue the Schinkel Pavillon serves first of all as a space for the contemplative encounter with art. Thomas Hirschhorn turns this encounter into a confrontation. The visitors are exposed to a feeling of uneasiness - due to the impact of gravity the ceiling has already succumbed and might collapse even further. Force Majeure hereby compels the viewer to take a closer look. What normally is and remains hidden under the smooth surface, is now up for debate. The art audience is encouraged to question own expectations and viewing habits. The ceiling sculpture follows the laws of gravity rather than resting on plinth, pedestal or floor. Force Majeure challenges the notion of contemporary sculpture.

Thomas Hirschhorn (*1957 in Bern) presented his work “Abschlag” recently at Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg, curated by Kaspar König, and represented Switzerland at the 54th Biennale di Venezia.

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