Vittoria Martini

Thomas Hirschhorn: The Bijlmer Spinoza-Festival. The Ambassador's Diary

€ 23.99

Date of publication January 2023

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Vittoria Martini
Thomas Hirschhorn: The Bijlmer Spinoza-Festival. The Ambassador's Diary

Text(s) by Claire Bishop, Thomas Hirschhorn, Vittoria Martini, Lisa Lee, Mignon Nixon, Marcus Steinweg, graphic design by Neil Holt


2023. 176 pp.,

ISBN 978-3-7757-5264-0

At the Intersection of the Here and Now, Eternity and Universality

The Bijlmer Spinoza-Festival is an artwork, a sculpture, created by Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn in a peripheral borough of Amsterdam’s south-east known as the Bijlmer in 2009. This book recounts the event through the eyes of its “Ambassador”, art historian Vittoria Martini, who was invited by the artist to be an eyewitness to the existence of this “precarious” work. A term Hirschhorn sees as positive and creative: a means of asserting the importance of the moment and of the place, of asserting the Here and Now to touch eternity and universality. Appreciating the art historian’s presence as a central element of his sculpture, Hirschhorn consciously challenged the certainties of the profession by empowering and activating the role, thus leading Martini to find a new working methodology that she calls “precarious art history”. Accompanying the readers through her experience of the physical existence of The Bijlmer Spinoza-Festival, Martini’s commentary leads to the profound understanding of how a work that no longer exists physically, can live on in the mind—elsewhere, at some other time—because in the meantime it has become universal.

Paris-based artist THOMAS HIRSCHHORN (*1957, Bern) is best known for his sculptures in public space—monuments, kiosks, and altars. Questioning the autonomy, the authorship, and resistance of a work of art, he asserts the power of art to touch and transform the other. He represented Switzerland at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 and received numerous awards, including the Prix Marcel Duchamp and the Joseph Beuys Stiftung Prize.

VITTORIA MARTINI (*1975, Kinshasa) is an independent art historian living in Italy. She has a doctorate from Università Ca’ Foscari/Università Iuav di Venezia. Since 2013 she teaches History of exhibitions and curatorial practices and holds the Art Writing workshop at CAMPO – Program of curatorial studies and practices established by the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Turin, Italy). Her research focuses mainly on the institutional structures that produce exhibitions.

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