"In the ruins of the museum, creation and destruction meet. The destroyed museum is an unprotected, free place, where everyone is equal. [...] The art of destruction has the power to change and liberate people, to transform societies and institutions. Dear Thomas, if you make the museum a ruin, I'm on your side." (curator Roland Wenninger to Thomas Hirschhorn, December 2016). When I first entered the Thomas Hirschhorn exhibit in @, I was terrified. Pre-pubescent boys were running around with box cutters and electric drills as tendrils of tape clung to my shoes, dragging along the residue of whoever's creation. Graffiti, printouts of Donald Trump across from the goddess Shiva, a makeshift nail parlor sign next to academic quotations about the universe. Amateur chords on an electric guitar filling the dark and colorful niches, where children were digging tunnels. Toilets were held up on pillars close to the ceiling, presiding over the pandemonium, the continuous, flowing loops of destruction and creation, the strange mood that took over when everyone forgot this is not how we normally behave.
I left a few hours later, feeling weirdly bonded with the strangers around me. After all, they had seen me saw a giant block of styrofoam in two and I had seen them, with their faces lit up, spontaneously braid threads of rubber tire or paint figures on the wall. Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist who lives in Paris, is against the economics of the art world, its terms and its politics, its seriousness and goals. Entrance is always free. No museum guards as a policy. Guided by play, impulsivity and the forces that are released when 'purposeless' doing is encouraged, Hirschhorn rather feels an affinity to philosophers like Gramsci, Deleuze and Bataille. Turning the museum into a ruin and inviting all of us to do with it as we please, also holds up a mirror to our deepest, strangest drives. Are we frenzies of energy and excess with destructive urges? Are we also just a bunch of ruins, wandering around the ruins, always becoming and degrading in and out of snapshots of our lives?
Na ja. But for those of you in Munich, go see the show. It only has a couple weeks left.