Irina Kulik’s cycle continues with a lecture on contemporary European practitioners whose aesthetic forms, as well as political concerns seem to considerably correlate.
Thomas Hirschhorn (b. 1957) is a Swiss artist whose career began in the mid-1980s. Usually, his works physically extend and transcend space, while thematically many of them touch upon cutting-edge socio-political issues. Hirschhorn’s installations are literally incorporated into architecture. For instance, his project Crystal of Resistance (2011) almost entirely inhabited Switzerland’s national pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale; while for Manifesta 10 in St Petersburg, Hirschhorn assimilated the largest room of the General Staff building with the gigantic Abschlag (2014) installation. While achieving overwhelming visual effect due to large scale and unexpected materials, the artist considers correct conceptual perception of his pieces equally important, often attaching written statements to his works, explaining some of their core ideas. A lover of philosophy from a young age, Hirschhorn has created monuments to a number of his favorite thinkers: Spinoza, Bataille, Deleuze and Gramsci. He lives and works in Paris.
Polish artist, member of several art collectives Paweł Althamer (b. 1967) has been creating sculptures and video art, practicing performance and actionism, as well as teaching ceramics to people with disabilities since the early 1990s. Taking over from the academic tradition, Althamer’s sculptures may represent the human body, yet, made of contemporary materials, they seem unusual and fragile. One of his recent large-scale projects was a sculptural installation in the Arsenale pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, featuring anthropomorphic plastic statues installed throughout. Althamer is known for his scrupulous approach to space, often completely changing the interiors of the galleries he works with. Meanwhile, his performances and films, especially those from the 1990s, explore or document the artist’s radical physical and mental experiments, many of which were executed under the influence of various drugs. Paweł Althamer lives and works in Warsaw.