thomas hirschhorn: black and white hemisphere thomas hirschhorn: black and white hemisphere
jan 29, 2010

thomas hirschhorn: black and white hemisphere

thomas hirschhorn: black & white hemisphere michael stevenson, cape town, south africa on now until march 6th, 2010

‘black & white hemisphere’ by thomas hirschhorn, 2008 wood, cardboard, red, white and black paint, transparent and brown adhesive tape, electric cord, foam, toy sheep, synthetic sheepskins, plastic busts, arms, heads and lobes of brains, plastic basin, fabric, prints, trestle tables 330 x 250 x 505cm installation view image courtesy of michael stevenson, cape town & arndt and partner, berlin

‘black & white hemisphere’ was conceived by swiss-born artist thomas hirschhorn for a travelling exhibition, ‘german angst’, in which filmmakers, writers and artists were invited to respond to the ‘normalization’ of germany’s history after its reunification of 1990. the parallels with south africa, which achieved its own ‘reunification’ in 1994 are abundant, and because the sculptural work avoids german subject matter in favour of universal issues of inequality and divisions among people, its changing context enriches, rather than displaces the work, which is currently on show at michael stevenson in cape town, south africa.

the assemblage integrates many of hirschhorn’s signature materials. on the installation’s base, severed arms of mannequins hold up two halves of a globe, one of which is painted black and the other white. the split separating the two hemispheres reveals arteries running through the globe as a whole, turning it into a brain and emphasizing the interconnectedness of the earth’s ecosystem in general, and of its human population in particular. surrounding the globe at each corner of the base, are four main posts which have been covered in sheepskins, the set-up suggestive of a boxing ring, presenting the work as a site of conflict. the torsos of mannequins, stuffed toy sheep, brains… are displayed on the base. the ‘paradox of plenty’ in the text around the sculpture refers to the economic observation that those areas riches in natural resources often remain the least developed, stating phrases like: ‘everyone’s problem’, ‘needless thinking’, ‘beyond politics’. the effects of this paradox are strongly felt in various parts of africa, making the presence of ‘black & white hemisphere’ on the african continent particularly poignant.

the exhibition is part of michael stevenson’s FOREX series.

‘black & white hemisphere’ by thomas hirschhorn, 2008 wood, cardboard, red, white and black paint, transparent and brown adhesive tape, electric cord, foam, toy sheep, synthetic sheepskins, plastic busts, arms, heads and lobes of brains, plastic basin, fabric, prints, trestle tables 330 x 250 x 505cm installation view image courtesy of michael stevenson, cape town & arndt and partner, berlin

‘black & white hemisphere’ by thomas hirschhorn, 2008 wood, cardboard, red, white and black paint, transparent and brown adhesive tape, electric cord, foam, toy sheep, synthetic sheepskins, plastic busts, arms, heads and lobes of brains, plastic basin, fabric, prints, trestle tables 330 x 250 x 505cm image courtesy of michael stevenson, cape town & arndt and partner, berlin

‘black & white hemisphere’ by thomas hirschhorn, 2008 wood, cardboard, red, white and black paint, transparent and brown adhesive tape, electric cord, foam, toy sheep, synthetic sheepskins, plastic busts, arms, heads and lobes of brains, plastic basin, fabric, prints, trestle tables 330 x 250 x 505cm image courtesy of michael stevenson, cape town & arndt and partner, berlin

‘black & white hemisphere’ by thomas hirschhorn, 2008 wood, cardboard, red, white and black paint, transparent and brown adhesive tape, electric cord, foam, toy sheep, synthetic sheepskins, plastic busts, arms, heads and lobes of brains, plastic basin, fabric, prints, trestle tables 330 x 250 x 505cm image courtesy of michael stevenson, cape town & arndt and partner, berlin

‘black & white hemisphere’ by thomas hirschhorn, 2008 wood, cardboard, red, white and black paint, transparent and brown adhesive tape, electric cord, foam, toy sheep, synthetic sheepskins, plastic busts, arms, heads and lobes of brains, plastic basin, fabric, prints, trestle tables 330 x 250 x 505cm image courtesy of michael stevenson, cape town & arndt and partner, berlin

‘black & white hemisphere’ by thomas hirschhorn, 2008 wood, cardboard, red, white and black paint, transparent and brown adhesive tape, electric cord, foam, toy sheep, synthetic sheepskins, plastic busts, arms, heads and lobes of brains, plastic basin, fabric, prints, trestle tables 330 x 250 x 505cm image courtesy of michael stevenson, cape town & arndt and partner, berlin

hirschhorn was born in bern, switzerland. he has had many solo shows including those at the centre georges pompidou, paris, art institute of chicago, the institute of contemporary art, boston and museu d’art contemporani, barelona. in 2003 he founded musée précaire albinet, a temporary art and community space in aubervilliers, france. his group exhibitions include documenta 11 in kassel, germany, heart of darkness at the walker art center and more recently, life on mars: the 55th carnegy international. he is the recipient of the prix marcel duchamp, 2000 and the joseph beuys-preis in 2004.

  • thomas hirschhorn is THE political activist artist.

    Dennis says:

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