Where do I place myself? What do I want? Moreover, how do I take a stand?
How do I give a form to such a position – the essential problem in art – and how can this form create a truth that transcends cultural, aesthetical, and political practices?
How can it create a universal truth?
I cannot create universal truth through critical discourse; I must give it a form. I want to give it a form – one that must be precise and exaggerated at the same time – in order to establish a contact with a “non-exclusive audience”.
What I want to do with my work is to define a limit – a new limit for Art.
This is my artistic ambition. This is my mission! I wouldn’t be tempted with sterile, and especially narcissistic “critical discourse”, under any circumstances. This is why I do not want to feed any narcissistic illusions nor dreams, just like I do not want to fall into distant and pragmatic cynicism. What I want to do is to establish a Critical Body and not engage in “critical discourse”.
What I want is to believe in art and prove it. Believe that Art – because it is Art – can create conditions of involvement, dialogue, and one-to-one confrontation. I refuse to hold a complacent discussion when faced with a complex and chaotic world in conflict. This does not interest me, nor has it ever interested me. This famous critical discourse is fed to the artist just like a bone – often already chewed – is given to a dog. I will not bite it, although the participants of the universe of facts, opinions, and comments dislike my conduct. I am not interested, nor have I ever been interested in these particular problems.
The only thing that I am overwhelmed with is the universal, which seems acceptable not only for an artist, but for any human being. It is an extraordinary challenge to figure out how to produce work that looks beyond the historical facts, how to produce work that clashes with the history in which I live, and how to produce work, today, that will become an ahistorical piece. I do not know of any artist who can seriously imagine basing his or her work on this type of problem in particular. Art is universal – simply because it is Art.
Excerpt, Conversation with Thomas Hirschhorn, in Vittoria Martini, Federica Martini, Just Another Exhibition. Representing Nations in Contemporary Exhibition Practice, Postmediabooks, Milan 2011.