“The Purple Line” (2021)

A 6m-high wall painted in purple will run through the MAXXI exhibition space in Galerie 3: it’s The Purple Line. On this wall, the (almost) complete Pixel-Collage series will be exhibited. Exhibiting the Pixel-Collage series offers a form to the problematic of today’s visible and non-visible. The Pixel-Collage wants to transgress a thinking, a “looking at,” a knowledge, a judgement. These works are a proposal that overcomes old constituents, old boundaries, old thoughts and old habits. The Purple Line constitutes the Edge where the Pixel-Collage makes contact with the audience, the works—both the small and large ones—are literally drawing the question: “what is there to see? What remains unseen ?” The Purple Line is a two-dimensional visual challenge and a three-dimensional sculptural statement.

(In color theory, “The line of purples” refers to the edge between extreme spectral red and violet in the chromaticity diagram, and for any point on the line no other color that is a mixture of red and violet is more saturated than this.)

At MAXXI, The Purple Line will bring together—for the first time—almost all of the Pixel-Collage works. The series includes 121 works in total that I made between 2015 and 2017. By presenting 118 of the 121 Pixel-Collage works[1], I want to affirm and emphasize the importance, in my view, of these works. The Purple Line is the appropriate form to insist with the artistic and intellectual consistency of this body of work.

As an emancipatory act, I wanted to place the two-dimensional shape of The Purple Line in the three-dimensional space of the museum. By doing this I want to introduce this movement, this dynamic of the oscillation between the second and third dimensions into the powerful and multidimensional space of Zaha Hadid’s museum. Therefore, it makes sense to build a freestanding wall—The Purple Line—to emphasize its autonomy in the existing institutional space: it is a Spatial and an An-architectonical proposal. The guideline is, as always, the idea of working “with” the exhibition space, not “for” or “against” it.

The Purple Line is in fact a line drawn on the plan of the MAXXI exhibition space; hence, this line is concretely built for the exhibition and will serve as support for the display of the Pixel-Collage body of works. The wall runs continuously through the different spaces of the dedicated exhibition area, the wall is about 250m long, with both sides as a support for all—or almost all—of the Pixel-Collage. In some places there are openings to be able to circulate from one side of the wall to the other.

The Pixel-Collage on The Purple Line is an affirmation of the magical power and the logical force of abstraction combined with hardcore reality pictures that want to reach beyond facts, beyond information, beyond actuality in order to create Truth.

Thomas Hirschhorn, Aubervilliers, 2021.


[1] One of the collages—the highest one—overpasses the height of the wall (Pixel-Collage n°113, 6,10m x 12,70m), and two other works (Pixel-Collage n°10 and Pixel-Collage n°26) weren’t available at the dates of the exhibition.