"Looking the world in the face and wanting to see everything: that is what this is about" (Thomas Hirschhorn)
Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn reclaims the practice of collage for the present day, positioning himself in a long line of artists who test the boundaries between politics and aesthetics. Key to Hirschhorn's approach is the reclamation and recontextualization of found material. The two works seen here belong to Hirschhorn's Ur-Collage series, "ur" meaning basic or elemental. As with his three-dimensional collages, fragility and insecurity underlie the Ur-Collages. The artist is concerned not just with the precariousness of materials, though, but with the precariousness of human bodies in the face of weapons, media, and poverty as well. In the case of these collages, rail-thin models consort with mangled war victims, the former cut from fashion magazines, the latter downloaded from the Internet. In one instance, Hirschhorn's scenography results in a disturbing hybrid: a mutant with the torso of a glamorous blond and the legs of an armed security officer. The artist glued this varied imagery to simple pieces of cardboard, similar to the handwritten signs a homeless person might carry.
"Acquisitions of the Princeton University Art Museum 2011," Record of the Princeton University Art Museum 71/72 (2012-13): p. 75-132.