Though smaller and less raucous than the bulk of Hirschhorn’s work, the artist's 'Wood-Chains' are no simpler to classify. Constructed with clumsy charm from burnished wood, these ambiguous objects are sculptural images of mass production.
Mimicking cheap but blingy holiday souvenirs, images of archetypal tourist landmarks are burned into the works, surface. With self-referential inscriptions declaring the triumph of self-satisfied global consumer culture, they are saturated with an irony that implicate the viewer. Emblems of human desire to objectivise the world in order to possess it, these satirical accessories implicate and then reward with an insight into what art must and cannot be in the global marketplace.
Thomas Hirschhorn is known for ephemeral constructions that he calls ‘displays’ as opposed to ‘installations’, which overflow the museum space. Often resembling a small shanty town, or a perverted department store, these immersive works are mostly constructed haphazardly from everyday ‘democratic’ materials such as cardboard, packing tape, aluminium foil, and paper printed with often obscene images and peppered with hand scrawled slogans. Dystopian manifestations of our desires, habits, and offhandedly committed sins, these shocking little worlds of Hirshhorn’s pack a curiously desensitising punch.
Image 1: Wood-Chain VI (Golden Gate Bridge), 2004, Burnished wood, 300 x 124 x 30cm (118 x 49 x 12in)
Image 2: Thomas Hirschhorn, 'Wood-Chain VII (Great Wall of China)', 2004, Burnished wood, 305 x 143 x 30cm (118 x 49 x 12in)
Courtesy Thomas Hirschhorn and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.
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