Visual Cultures Lecture: Thomas Hirschhorn
11 March 2014 | 6.30pm
For the final Visual Cultures lecture of the 2013/2014 series, the RCA is pleased to welcome Thomas Hirschhorn to give an insight on his Gramsci Monument project, commissioned by Dia Art Foundation 2013.
From July to September 15, 2013, Gramsci Monument was open seven days a week on the grounds of Forest Houses, a New York City Housing Authority development in the Morrisania neighborhood of the New York City Borough of theBronx.
This monument pays tribute to the Italian political theorist Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937), famous for his volume of Prison Notebooks (1926–1937) and one of the most important Marxist thinkers in the twentieth century. Based on Hirschhorn's will 'to establish a definition of monument, to provoke encounters, to create an event, and to think Gramsci today', Gramsci Monument is the fourth and last in Hirschhorn’s series of 'monuments'. The series was dedicated to major writers and thinkers, which he initiated in 1999 with Spinoza Monument (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), followed by Deleuze Monument (Avignon, France, 2000) and Bataille Monument (Kassel for Documenta XI, Germany, 2002).
Gramsci Monument is constructed as an outdoor pavilion divided in two wings, housing a museum, library, newspaper, computer room, radio station, bar, workshop, classroom and theatre. All of those spaces are part of civil culture; they were all built and run by the residents of Forest Houses.
It follows Hirschhorn’s guidelines for 'Presence and Production' in a work in a public space, meaning that the artist will be based in the South Bronx, onsite, making work for the duration of the project. The monument also keeps to Hirschhorn’s commitment to materials that 'do not intimidate' and are constructed from low-grade two-by-fours, plywood, packing tape and tarpaulins.
Introduction by Melanie Jordan, Senior Tutor in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London.
Thomas Hirschhorn's new book, Critical Laboratory: The Writings of Thomas Hirchhorn, edited by Lisa Lee and Hal Foster, will be on sale at the lecture, at the special price of £20 (payment can be accepted in cash only).
Many of the writings in this collection appear in English for the first time and, together, they trace the development of Thomas Hirschhorn's ideas and artistic strategies.