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Thomas Hirschhorn, 'Flamme Éternelle'

For 52 days artist Thomas Hirschhorn lived in the exhibition he created at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris and invited 200 French writers, poets and philosophers to share their work with the public

I wanted to create a situation where people want to spend time, to make encounters, to have a dialogue or a confrontation. My work, Flamme Éternelle, Eternal Flame, is based on presence and production. So I'm being present every day and I'm producing every day. I'm producing discussion, I'm producing an interview, I'm producing encounters, friendship.

Thomas Hirschhorn

Transcription

It's the mission of an artist to construct his or her role, no? To give form to how the artist, how me, sees the work. This is my mission, I think, this.

What I want, that there is no material with a plus value. I don’t want that my materials are to intimidate somebody. It's very important that they are materials that everybody use and everybody knows. With this, I hope to make a possible link to the spectator or to the visitor who engages my work.

I'm covering with packing tape the sofas in order to equalise them, that they are all equal. I mean the same colour, the same texture. I'm not the first artist, of course, who works with tyres. It's a universal material, like tape, like the other materials I'm working with. I think it's a plastically very interesting material because it gives you the possibility to construct something again. I wanted here to do smaller spaces than the whole space, that’s why I used these tyres to construct several specific spaces.

I wanted to create a situation where people want to spend time, to make encounters, to have a dialogue or a confrontation. My work, Flamme Éternelle, Eternal Flame, is based on presence and production. So I'm being present every day and I'm producing every day. I'm producing discussion, I'm producing an interview, I'm producing encounters, friendship.

[French spoken]

This is on the agoras, of the places where lectures will take place. There is a real flame which is burning all the time of the exhibition. This is the bar or the lounge. Important that this is integrated in Flamme Éternelle the idea that you can also produce discussion encounters at the bar. This is the library space. There are 700 books. It's, in a way, an imaginary library but also, in becoming library, the 200 philosophers, writers and poets who are coming. They bring books with them and so the library will be becoming bigger and bigger.

All the banners and also the cardboards are slogans. They're either from street manifestations or from philosophers. I didn’t want to show them finished, I wanted that somebody can complete it, can let it as this, as non-completed, or can change it themselves. So I wanted this to show that there is activity of thinking going on.

My own vision of the world, my material, my aesthetic. It's important, yes? To me, doing art means giving form. To me, doing art means to establish a critical purpose and that’s why everything here must have a logic, even when it's only my logic.

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