“Mürrischer Schnee” (2014) – [eng]

“Mürrischer Schnee” in Gstaad is the first work I am making with the material “snow”. It makes me happy since I grew up and lived until I was twenty years old in Davos, which has a lot of snow in winter as well. “Mürrischer Schnee” is a sculpture with real and fake snow. Snow is not different than any other precarious material and therefore it belongs to the vocabulary of materials I love to work with. Snow, like tape, styrofoam, cardboard, photocopy, or plastic is just a material.

“Mürrischer Schnee” is a little town with different constructions, ‘homes’ or shelters. In this landscape of risks the ‘homes’ are refuges for Reality – this is the affirmation, this is my affirmation. The meaning is: Reality gives shelter, Reality is the refugium! The shelter is not an escape from Reality – but just the opposite – it’s a Refuge to face and confront Reality. “Mürrischer Schnee” is a shelter for Reality, not from Reality. Indeed, instead of ‘dreaming’, instead of escaping and turning my back to Realiy, the only way to confront the time I am living in, is to embrace Reality. To embrace it – decidedly and dedicated – as a way of accepting the infight with our World, the only and unique World – the World I am part of. I do think Art can give a Form to this infight. The little town constructed with and in the snow is emblematic for understanding that our last refuge is Reality – today – with all its risks.

Snow is ‘mürrisch’ as it can be ‘joyful’. ‘Mürrisch’ means grumpy but also cantankerous, crotchety, or liverish. Being ‘mürrisch’ reflects the necessity of understanding snow as an uncontrollable and unstabilized material, as something that cannot be neutralized, as something reaching beyond human imagination, something refusing domestication and something impure. To give Form to the landscape of Risk as a shelter is a “mürrischer” act and things must therefore perform beyond glamour and fashion. The material “snow” is – like other materials I use to make sculpture – precarious, uncertain and without guarantee. I do not want to try to dominate or ‘manipulate’ Snow in a sophisticated way, I understand snow as a material of resistance as such. Snow – in remaining ‘mürrisch’ – resists the temptation to escape Reality. “Mürrischer Schnee” resists the idea of snow as a support only for pleasure and as a surface for the privileged.

“Mürrischer Schnee” in Gstaad is realized in an accessible, unspectacular and everyday location. The location at ‘Moos’ in Lauenen is an universal, inclusive spot. A location which wants to reach a non-exclusive audience – even in such a resort as Gstaad, which can be exclusive and selective. I want to carry with me my own universal vision of “snow” from the time spend in snow in my hometown Davos and the time spend in making Art.


Thomas Hirschhorn, January, 2014

Translated from German