Thomas Hirschhorn: The Bijlmer Spinoza-Festival. The Ambassador's Diary
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. [publisher's note]
Contributions by Claire Bishop, Thomas Hirschhorn, Vittoria Martini, Lisa Lee, Mignon Nixon, Marcus Steinweg.