Thomas Hirschhorn

Gramsci Monument . 2013

+ Gramsci Monument . Photos: Romain Lopez | courtesy Dia Art Foundation

Gramsci Monument is the fourth and last in Thomas Hirschhorn’s series of “monuments”
dedicated to major writers and thinkers, which he initiated in 1999 with Spinoza Monument (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), followed by Deleuze Monument (Avignon, France, 2000) and Bataille Monument (Kassel, Germany, 2002).
This fourth monument pays tribute to the Italian political theorist and Marxist Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937), famous for his Letters and Prison Notebooks (1926–1937). Gramsci Monument is based on Hirschhorn's will “to establish a definition of monument,’ to provoke encounters, to create an event, and to think Gramsci today.
My love for Antonio Gramsci is the love of philosophy, the love of the infinitude of thought. It is a question of sharing this, affirming it, defending it, and giving it form.”


In doing my work in public space and furthermore, in doing works involving residence on location such as the upcoming “Gramsci Monument”, I am confronted with the question of ‘authorship’.
Unshared Authorship
Consequently I want to propose a new kind of authorship: the Unshared Authorship.
This means that me, the artist, am the author of the “Gramsci Monument”, I am entirely and completely the author, regarding everything about my work. As author - in Unshared Authorship -
I don’t share the responsibility of my work nor my own understanding of it, that’s why the term: ‘Unshared’. But I am not the only author! Because the Other, the one who takes the responsibility of the work also, is - equally - author. The Other can be author, completely and entirely, in his/her understanding of the work and regarding everything about the work. That’s why again, the term: ’Unshared’. Unshared Authorship is a statement, it’s an assertion, it’s offensive and it’s a ‘hard’ term in opposition to the ‘soft’ term ‘collaboration’. ‘Unshared’ stands for clearness, for a decision, for the ‘non-exclusive’, for the opening toward ‘co-existence’. ‘Unshared’ means saying yes to complexity, and implies multiplication, not division. Today’s issues about claim for ‘responsibility’ come from those ‘shared responsibilities’, which push you to the ‘I am not responsible for this, I am only responsible for that!’ excuses. Unshared Authorship – we could also say “Unshared Responsibility” - allows to take the responsibility for what I am not responsible for. Furthermore Unshared Authorship allows to be author even when I am not the ‘author’, this is the essential, this is the new.

I believe in Universality and in the universal power of art to transform each human being. Other words for ‘Universality’ are ‘Equality’, the ‘Non-Exclusive Audience’, ‘Truth’, ‘The One World’ or ‘Justice’. Other words for ‘Belief’ are ‘Resistance’, ‘Intensity’, ‘Movement’ or ‘Creation’. I want to confront my ‘Belief’ with reality - through my work and I want to be engaged with art in absolute equality. ‘Belief’ and ‘Equality’ are both constitutive for art. The ‘Belief’ is to be absolutely convinced of this, to follow it as a decision, as a hope, and to use it as a weapon, as an affirmation. I cannot understand the skeptical, the disappointed, the resigned, the cynical, the critical - nothing can be done when there is no belief in equality. Belief in equality is a strength, it’s active and it’s a resistance to objectivity or neutrality. With a part of dream and innocence, the notion of Unshared Authorship can build, throughout ‘equality’ and ‘non-exclusivity’, a basis to engage directly ‘The Other’. There is no artwork - that stands as such - based on inequality or exclusivity.
The Other

The only possibility to encounter the Other is ‘as equal’. This is not easy and is being avoided by today’s many circumstances, conditions and contexts. To resist this I must allow myself ‘equality’, I must authorize myself to assert ‘being equal’. This means establishing a relation with the Other out of my belief in equality. This means concerning the “Gramsci-Monument”, that in order to encounter the residents of possible sites that will host my work, I need to follow my belief in equality without forcing an attitude, remaining truthful to myself. Should equality not be the most obvious thing? ‘Unshared’ is the contrary of unequal. To act in Unshared Authorship is an act of emancipation and of self-understanding that doesn’t require response. To establish a contact with the Other – through art – must be something “given”, something essential, something absolute. It is a necessity for any artistic ‘fieldwork’. For the “Gramsci-Monument”, I am doing this alone and solitarian, because I am convinced that the only possible contact with the Other can happen ‘One to One’. This is not self-enclosure or a romantic attitude. Only a ’One to One’ contact can create a dialogue or even a confrontation with the Other.
‘I’ or ‘me’:
I have always understood ‘me’ or ‘I’ - which I use often and with no bashfulness - as something already including the Other. The Other, the reality, the world - my own world also - should be included within ‘I’ and ‘me’. I’m not first nor last expressing this, but the term ‘unshared’ in Unshared Authorship - enlarges the entire dimension of ‘I’ and ‘me’. I want to do everything to use art as a tool for involving the Other - throughout my work. That is the problem, and the challenge, and why I love so much to do a work of art. I want to do a work in which the affirmation : the Other is included in ‘me’ and in ‘I’, takes a form. This is my competence as an artist.

Thomas Hirschhorn, 2012

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