Vittoria Martini

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

€ 23.99

Date of publication November 2022

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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


2022. 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 (more than seventy to the present day)—monuments, kiosks, altars such as his Bataille Monument which was set up in a residential area in Kassel during documenta 11. Questioning the autonomy, the authorship and resistance of a work of art, he asserts the power of art to touch and transform the other. The Bijlmer Spinoza-Festival (2009) is one of such projects, the Gramsci Monument in The Bronx, New York (2013), and more recently in 2019 the Robert Walser-Sculpture in Biel-Bienne, Switzerland. He represented Switzerland at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, and received the Prix Marcel Duchamp, the Joseph Beuys Stiftung Prize, and the Meret Oppenheim Prize, among others.
VITTORIA MARTINI is an independent art historian with a focus on the history of exhibitions and the economics of contemporary art. Her main research topic is the institutional, topographic, cultural, and social history of the Venice Biennale.

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