Stand-alone is a three-dimensional realization of my plan “Where do I stand? What do I want?“.
The plan is the point of departure and the dynamics for the work Stand-alone. This plan will be available– as integrated printed matter – in the gallery for visitors to take home. Stand-alone is a collage, it is a collage in space. A collage in the third dimension is – a sculpture without volume – with all the components of a collage. The mission of a collage is to create a new world from elements of an existing world; that is also what I want when I make a collage.
What is important for me is to find a form, what is important is that I assert that form and that I defend that form. In order to give form, I need a logic, therefore I must develop a logic and insist on it. I must have my own unconditional artistic logic.
In the plan “Where do I stand? What do I want?”, I ask myself: “How can I assume a position? How can I give a form to that position? And how can I, through this form – beyond political, aesthetic, and cultural habits – create a truth?” I don’t want to find a theoretical answer to that question, but rather give it a form – with zest. My work Stand-alone will be that form. I will try to work in the force field and form field of love, aesthetics, and philosophy.
In each of the four rooms of the gallery, there is a slightly enlarged fireplace (made of cardboard pasted with plastic), a total of four fireplaces. The fireplaces stand for the “eternal fire” of love, politics, aesthetics, and philosophy. There are books to go with the four power fields, and these books are supposed to point beyond their respective fields. The books are material and form, they are friendly forms and friendly forms, I could also call it allied form and allied material. To light and maintain the fire, different forms and kinds of wood are used.
Stand-alone is called stand-alone, i.e. self-raising and self-permission. “Stand-alone“ is also an economic strategy. You can’t “Stand alone” alone, and stand-alone isn’t done by oneself. “Stand-alone” does not work without help – that is why there is enlarged “YOU” medication (made of cardboard pasted with plastic). Placebo medication is still medication.
As always, I want to make a work that creates the conditions for a direct dialogue or confrontation, a work that wants to implicate. My work is not supposed to intimidate anybody. I want to create a dense work with great urgency, and I want to remember that for me, art is a tool. Art is a tool for me to engage with the age in which I live. Art is a tool to get to know the world, and art is a tool for confronting reality. I believe in art.
Stand-alone is a work in chaos – because I want to work in the chaos of the world. I don’t want to make a work against the chaos, and I want to work in the incomprehensibility and obscurity of the world. And I want to work in the middle of what really is visible in our world.
In each of the four rooms, there is a mega-form (a large tree trunk made of painted cardboard), in it are “grooved” pictures of destroyed, injured people. The mega-forms are supposed to break the proportion, and they are to bring about a changed perspective. I want to make a frontal work, a work that does not evade. Stand-alone is made for a non-exclusive public. Stand-alone wants to include without neutralising. With this work I don’t want to exclude anybody, and Stand-alone is to be a work that does not just address and appeal to an initiated, pre-informed audience.
In the four rooms, which are separated by smashed-in doors, there are several wardrobes and bookshelves that are more or less taken apart. The boxes and wardrobes change from bearers of information to firewood.
These boxes and wardrobes are bearers of “semi or partial information” – they are “cannibalised” and photocopied press articles. The press articles are partially glued onto the entire boxes, partially to the box elements that stand about individually, and some are strewn across the floor as photocopies. Electronic devices like TV, telephone, computer etc are attached to the walls of the exhibition rooms with adhesive tape. The devices, thus attached, are forms of resistance. The walls are inscribed (with felt-tip pens) and sprayed with “news poetry,” these inscriptions take the form of protest. “News poetry” are sentence fragments cut from newsmagazines, without contents of place, name, or topicality. The attached devices and the writing on the wall are “signs on the wall” – protest and resistance. Everybody can see them, but the point is to really perceive them – to consider them truthful.
With the work Stand-alone, I – as an artist – want to engage with this problem: How can I make a work that in no instance subjects itself to the historical facts? And how can I make a work that touches the beyond of the history in which I live? How can I in the context of today – my historical context – make a super-historical work?
Stand-alone is intended to be universal and ambitious. This work makes do without a standard, without analysis, without hierarchy. Stand-alone is a new work that requires the entire space of the gallery.
Thomas Hirschhorn, Aubervilliers, April 2007
Translated by Wilhelm Werthern