Thomas Hirschhorn Biel/Bienne 2016–2020: Robert Walser-Sculpture

Thomas Hirschhorn Biel/Bienne 2016–2020: Robert Walser-Sculpture

Fondation Exposition Suisse de Sculpture Biel/Bienne SPA-ESS

View of Robert Walser-Sculpture, 2019. Photo: Enrique Muñoz García.

May 22, 2020
Thomas Hirschhorn Biel/Bienne 2016–2020
Robert Walser-Sculpture

Book published on the occasion Presence and Production project of Thomas Hirschhorn 2019 in Switzerland

Now the unique book on the Presence and Production project Robert Walser-Sculpture by Thomas Hirschhorn in Biel has been published. Everything about this book is monumental, just like the Robert Walser-Sculpture: the book has 860 pages and weighs over 3 kilos. It has over 1,000 illustrations and numerous text contributions by Thomas Hirschhorn, Kathleen Bühler, Ann Cotten, Mara Genschel, Julia Gelshorn, José Gsell, Wiebke Hahn, Anna Kowalska, Roman Lauterbacher, Cédric Némitz, Gabriela Pereira, Jean-Pierre Rochat, Armin Senser, Marcus Steinweg and Jules Sturm. The texts were translated into German, French and English. As the venue Biel is bilingual (German-French), the events during the Robert Walser-Sculpture were also held in German or French and sometimes in English.

With few exceptions, Enrique Muñoz García, who accompanied the project from the beginning of the fieldwork research to its conclusion, captured the unforgettable moments of the 86-day sculpture in photographs. Barbara Ehrbar from Superbüro in Biel was responsible for the design of the weighty book. She has brought visual and typographical order to the different processes and at the same time allowed the synchronicity of the different dynamics to be guaranteed. Original contributions, which were created during the Robert Walser-Sculpture, were printed as facsimiles and left in their original language. In this way, their texture conveys something of the simplicity and spontaneity of the work during the Presence and Production project.  Only the contributions that were written in the wake of the event and thus already begin to interpret the event, as well as the artist’s texts that comprehensively reflect his activity, were translated into all three languages. The aim of this comprehensive book was primarily to accompany and document the creation of this public sculpture. As with earlier Presence and Production projects by Thomas Hirschhorn, it is inevitably an attempt that remains fragmentary. However, everything is prepared with self-testimonies, experience reports, artist’s texts and other sources in order to intensify the art historical reception.

The world presents itself completely changed at the time of the book’s publication, in contrast to the summer of 2019, when the Robert Walser-Sculpture took place. “Social distancing” is the catchphrase of the hour, which prevents everything that was lived on the Robert Walser-Sculpture and what it stands for: the encounter and exchange across traditional social, cultural and political borders, an unconditional, creative, multifaceted examination of Robert Walser, his work and his life. In this sense, this book is even more precious today, as it documents an artistic utopia on the largest public square in a Swiss city in the summer of 2019.

Information on the book:

Robert Walser-Sculpture
Thomas Hirschhorn. With people from Biel/Bienne and others. 2016–2020

Edited by Kathleen Bühler and Fondation Exposition Suisse de Sculpture Biel/Bienne SPA-ESS

Text(s) by Kathleen Bühler, Ann Cotten, Julia Gelshorn, Mara Genschel, José Gsell, Wiebke Hahn, Thomas Hirschhorn, Anna Kowalska, Roman Luterbacher, Nono G. Petlane, Marcus Steinweg, Gabriela Pereira, Jean-Pierre Rochat, Armin Senser, Jules Sturm

Photographer: Enrique Muñoz García

Design by Barbara Ehrbar, Superbüro Biel

Hatje Cantz 2020, 860 pages, 1000 illustrations, hardback book, 21.5 x 28 cm
German, English, French, ISBN 978-3-7757-4680-9

Available from mid-June at Hatje Cantz Publishers, Berlin. More information: Fondation Exposition Suisse de Sculpture Biel/Bienne SPA-ESS.

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May 22, 2020

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