About Artist-Lectures (2007)

Since I started doing Artist-Lectures (about 10 to15 lectures per year), this exercise has become – with time – a base for my work, a tool to state my position and to answer the essential question : What do I want ? Where do I stand ?

I do different types of lectures (nearly each time a new lecture). I either make a lecture about my work in general, starting with pictures of the early works up to the most recent, or about one single work – especially if this single work is being exhibited – which allows me to talk about more general questions connected to my work, or else I give lectures about a thematic with a choice of specific images – for example my works in public space.

When I give a lecture about my work, I do it with the intention to propose, clarify and impose my artistic project. I don’t take part in “round tables” or “panel discussions”. I am willing to answer any subject about my work but I don’t want to discuss in public what doesn’t concern my artistic project. What I want, is to show my work, I want to affirm it and I want to stand up for it. I insist about my will to show pictures and the Artist-Lecture is an opportunity to show work that has perhaps not been made public. Showing pictures of my work is important also because I want to insist on the image of the work done and on the fact that the work exists. What I want is to talk about the necessity to be touched by grace, I want to talk about faith in Art and about the need to be a warrior as an artist. I want to explain the problems and dangers I must confront. I want to share, in a lecture, the fact that the affirmation and self-authorisation which I need, myself, are a necessity in order to give form. Beside information on the work, it is the Artist-Lecture’s form itself that provides the tools to understand, to touch and to confront the artistic project that is being presented. I, myself, like to attend the Artist-Lectures of other artists (I remember in particular the astounding lectures of Yinka Shonibare and of Richard Prince).

What I want to convey through my lectures is that I am not a theoretician, a critic or a historian – to be an artist means to constantly confront theory with practice and this means to go beyond the limit of practice and theory as well. As an artist I have something to show and it is my mission to show it. I am somehow an activist for work that shows itself, exhibits itself and confronts. What counts is to be precise and to exaggerate at the same time. In an Artist-Lecture – as with my work – I want to be dense and charged, not to exclude anyone but to include. I want the questions of the materials used, the forms given, the questions about why are forms enlarged, why are there so many elements in my work, I want these questions to be evoked and to be answered. I also want to give answers : why do I integrate other elements in my work, for whom are the texts, why is Philosophy important (the Friendship between Art and Philosophy). To give an Artist-Lecture must also be of interest to me as well – it should first be in my interest, because the questions I ask myself are : am I making myself clear ? Am I precise ? Am I self-critical about my work without defeatism and narcissism ? Am I able to convey the difficulty but also the happiness that doing an artist’s work can give ?

What I want in my Artist-Lecture, is to trace my line of force, I want to draft my field of action and develop why I work like this. In my Artist-Lectures, I want the gap between the shown image and the given information to be the smallest possible. I don’t want to lose myself in speculation, analysis or approximations. I want my Artist-Lectures to be statements and commitments for myself, I want the Artist-Lecture to commit me first of all.


Thomas Hirschhorn

September 2007