thomas hirschhorn: crystal of resistance at venice art biennale 2011
original content
jun 13, 2011
thomas hirschhorn: crystal of resistance at venice art biennale 2011


‘crystal of resistance’ by thomas hirschhorn for the venice art biennale 2011
image © designboom

for his country’s participation at the venice art bienniale 2011, artist thomas hirschhorn presents the work ‘crystal of resistance’.
created with found materials along with hirschhorn’s signature duct tape and tinfoil, the large-scale installation features the crystal
as a recurring motif for its multifaceted, light-reflecting properties, as well as its association with genesis.
presented in the swiss pavilion at giardini, the charged work is a contrast to the country’s traditionally neutral political stance.

‘I decided - from the very beginning -
to put my work in the form and force field
consisting of the four parts: love, philosophy, politics, aesthetics.
I decided that
my work doesn’t have to cover equally all four parts, but every part
will always be covered to some extent.’ -thomas hirschhorn

with the aim to create a truth free of opinion and commentary, the comprehensive work sprawls over left-wing politics and globalization
through two light-parts (love, philosophy) and two shadow-parts (politics and aesthetics).
as light-parts of the work,
love and philosophy are meant to translate such feelings as the beauty of perseverance and the optimism of taking risks.
by contrast, the shadow-parts of politics and aesthetics are intended
to provoke a sense of urgency and resistance in the viewer.


a tower of television screens portray images of violence and suffering
image © designboom


a towering mannequin wearing a dress of similarly political imagery towers overhead
image © designboom




detail of the dress’s edge, which is lined with crystals
image © designboom


view of installation ceiling, resembling the interior of a geode
image © designboom


image © designboom


‘I want to produce a work that is reminiscent of the aesthetics of a
‘science-fiction’ b-movie film set, that derives from the aesthetics of a
self-made rock-crystal museum,
of the aesthetics of a ‘crystal-meth’ laboratory or that resembles the aesthetics of a cheaply decorated provincial disco.’
-thomas hirschhorn


installation view of foil crystal forms, inspired by the giant crystals of mexico’s naica mine
image © designboom



foil-covered ‘disco’ mannequins at the entrance of the crystal meth laboratory room
image © designboom


view of a room resembling a crystal meth laboratory
image © designboom


image © designboom


geode forms are recreated with household q-tips and tape
image © designboom

‘there will be many elements to see, there will be ‘too much.‘ 
‘it has to be ‘too much’, not because it is important to get to see
everything or spend a lot of time looking, but ‘too much’ so that the
things do not lie.’

-thomas hirschhorn


image © designboom


foil-covered exercise machines
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the ‘disco’ foil-covered mannequins recur in foil-covered dolls
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detail of violent and political images used to create bunting flags that appear throughout the exhibition
image © designboom


‘resistance is conflict between creativity and destruction. I want my work to stand in the conflict zone,
I want my work to stand erect in the conflict and be resistant within it.’
-thomas hirschhorn


image © designboom


image © designboom


hollow mannequins are filled with growing crystals
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image © designboom


image © designboom

I believe that art is universal, I believe that art is autonomous, I
believe that art can provoke a dialogue or a confrontation – one-to-one –
and I believe that art can include every human being. when I
write ‘believe’, I’m doing it not because I think or know it, not
because I can prove it –
but because – in art – it’s a matter of believing.
‘ -thomas hirschhorn


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom

‘my work can only have effect if it has the capacity of transgressing the boundaries of the ‘personal’, of the academic, of the imaginary, of the circumstantial,
of the context and of the contemplation. with ‘crystal of resistance’ I want to cut a window, a door, an opening or simply a hole, into reality.
that is the breakthrough that leads and carries everything along.’
-thomas hirschhorn


artist thomas hirschhorn
portrait © designboom


this 2011 exhibition has been commissioned by urs staub.
the swiss pavilion is located at the giardini venue.

the 54th international art exhibition in venice, italy, runs until november 27, 2011.

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