Why do I think what I think? Why do I do what I do (art)? Why do I use the tool or instrument I use? Why do I give the form I give? (2015)
The only reason to write about “common wealth” – as an artist – is to express my belief in equality and my understanding of Equality as a common wealth: A wealth which we have in common. Equality – as wealth – is something to achieve and defend, day by day, work by work, again and again. Achieving and defending equality – as an artist – means doing an egalitarian work of art and taking an egalitarian artistic position. The competence to do this – my competence – can only come from the work itself, from making it, and asserting it. I consider my competence to give form as a mission. Competence is an important term to me because the competent one has to prove his or her skill with acts. Competence is not only theory; it’s something to prove in practice as well. Competence towards Equality demands asking myself and giving response to the four questions:
Why do I think what I think?
Why do I do what I do (art)?
Why do I use the tool or instrument I use?
Why do I give the form I give?
Why do I think what I think?
I think that art is universal. Universality means Equality, Justice, Truth, the Other, the One World. Art – because it’s art – can provoke a dialogue or confrontation directly, from one to one. Therefore I think that each human being can get in touch with art, each human being can be transformed by the power of art. I believe that art is the way to reinvent the world. Art is autonomous. Autonomy is what gives an artwork its beauty and its absoluteness. Art – because it’s art – can create the conditions of an implication, beyond anything. Art is resistance. Art resists facts; Art resists political, aesthetical, cultural habits. Art is positivity, and intensity. Art, because it’s art, calls for equality. There is no other fundament, there is no other mission. The absolute affirmation of Equality is the link, the hidden and invisible connection which holds a work together. Precisely because it’s not a fact, pure equality needs to be fought for at every moment.
I want to struggle with the factual reality affecting me; I want to resist the tendency of reducing myself – and all of us – to objects in our unequal world.
I refuse the role of commentator or observer who doesn’t take each chance or opportunity to affirm Equality. This is my conviction and my belief. Yes, I believe in art and I have faith in art. I think that art is an inclusive movement, art should include the “Non-exclusive audience”, The Other, the uninterested one. This is common wealth. Art can never act in resentment or negativity, art is always and in all circumstances against discrimination, racism, and exclusion; there is no place for anti-Semitism or Islamophobia in art. Art affirms Truth; Truth created by every form, every assertion and every conviction. Truth is not the verifiable fact or “true information”. Belief in Truth is something essential. I place Truth on the same level as Universality, Equality and Justice. Truth is pure Energy, Truth has nothing to do with “quality”. I insist and believe in: “Energy = Yes! Quality = No!”
Why do I do what I do (art)?
I am doing art because I love making it. I love to work, I love working in an enthusiastic and self-inventing dynamic. Making art is a headless manifestation of love, love as a conviction and a passion. This love is not selfish, narcissistic or self-satisfying but a mode of emancipation. Art makes me stand up, makes me use my physical and intellectual ability and apply my tenacity. I understand art as a mission, a mission to accomplish – beyond success and beyond failure. To think in terms of “success” or “failure” in art makes no sense, art can be an experience that doesn’t function, that doesn’t work. I learned from doing art that I can’t be the “disappointed” one, and have no right to be, and accepting such an unforceful discourse is obviously and definitely too easy. Reality is far too unexpected, unpredictable and surprising for disappointment which, in its luxuriousness and selfishness, only serves the purpose of self-excuse and de-responsibilization. There is and can be no control facing reality; to accept this is a first step towards non-disappointment. Feeling disappointed is a narcissistic gesture to avoid the real disappointment: the disappointment in myself, in case I’m not giving everything I can and should – which is the risk when facing reality. Therefore disappointment is the last refuge of the “marvelous soul” disconnected from reality. Doing artwork is not an escape or a dream. If my work is intense, charged and dense, it has a chance of making a breakthrough, a breach in today’s dilemma, problematic, cul-de-sac and no-exit, beyond the deadlock of resignation and cynicism. Equality is not given – I must fight for it and can’t avoid the battle under the pretext of circumstance or today’s context. In order to stand up against inequality I must allow myself Equality, I must authorize myself to assert being equal. Art enables me to assert and give a form to my own logic in a movement of self-authorization. Therefore to me, doing art is an emancipatory act and as such, a necessity.
Why do I use the tool or the instrument I use?
Working – as an artist – means understanding art as a tool, an instrument or a weapon. I understand art as a tool to confront reality. I use the tool “art” to encounter the world I am living in. I use the tool “art” to live within the time I am living. I want to use the tool “art” because it allows resisting the historical fact. I want to use the tool or instrument “art” to make a work reaching beyond the history I am living in – beyond history. I want to use the tool “art” precisely because it allows me to do an a-historical work within the chaos and complexity of the moment. Therefore art is a tool to resist today’s facts, actuality, opinion, meaning, information and dictatorship of commentaries. I want to use art as a tool to establish a contact with the Other – this is a necessity – and I am convinced that the only possible contact with the Other happens “One to One”, as equal. I want to do a work that gives form – a form of equality – to the affirmation: the Other is included in “me” and in “I”. As Edouard Glissant wrote in his beautiful and powerful sentence: “The Other is in me because I am me. Equally, the I from whom the other is absent, perishes”. That is the problem, the challenge, the mission, and why I love so much to do a work of art. Art is a tool to keep the concentration focused on what counts to me, on what is essential, on Form.
Why do I give the form I give?
Form is the most important and essential question in art because it questions: How can I take a position? How can I give a form to this position? And how can this form create a Truth? A universal Truth? The problem is to give a form, my own form, something belonging to me only, which only I see and understand as such, something only I can give. I want to do an artwork in exaggeration and preciseness, a work which – in its charge and density – stands for a new form. To give form is decisive. I use the term “give form” because it means giving from my own, giving form is not “doing” or “making” a form. Therefore I invented my own “Form- and Force-field” to include the notions of Love, Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Politics. I always want to embrace these four notions in my work. I already asserted the crucial importance of Form to me. In Form- and Force-field there is also “force” and by insisting on form as a force, I am reinforcing my work. It is necessary to understand Form as non-splittable, non-negotiable and even – non-discussable. Form only exists as something entire, undividable and complete, as an atom or a core – this is hardcore – and this hardcore is Form. Form and Aesthetic are interdependent but not to confuse. Form is what gives ethic and clarity in the incommensurable, complex and chaotic world we are living in, today. Aesthetic is the answer to the question: What does this form look like? How is it made? What materials are used? Form never seeks a function, Form is not reductive, Form is never exclusive and Form can never be qualified with terms such as the “good form”. To give Form is a statement and an assertion I have to stand-up for. To give Form is an act of emancipation, it is a resolution and a decision I myself, must take. Therefore I have to give Form – to give.
Thomas Hirschhorn, Aubervilliers, 2015
- Edouard Glissant, L’intention Poétique (Paris: Seuil, 1969), 101. ↑