Speech Paula van den Bosch t.g.v. uitreiking AICA-oorkonde dd. 26/1/2007

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Ladies, gentlemen, Thomas Hirschhorn
Thank you AICA, for presenting the oorkonde to Thomas Hirschhorns Anschool. For me its is really a privilege to share this award with someone I admire for exactly ten years now. And seeing the list of previous aica-winners. We are in good company.

I am also very happy for everyone who is happy with Thomas Hirschhorn and me winning this prize.
I know all my colleagues from Maastricht are proud to share in this honour. Its like a compliment for the way we do things in the museum.
Its all about following one’s intuïton, having faith in the art and in the artist and his, or her, strength of mind.
And about not complaining too much when, because of a slightly oversized work – Hotel Democracy – we have to remove a wall or so. Or put in at once, a years exhibition budget, and even more.

Its also about seeking out the individual and the ambiguous in art. To prefer humanity to concepts and theories. To believe that the key to true understanding and insight is above all to be found in the artist’s mentality. To focus on individual bodies of work and the considerations of specific artists. And to give in monographic exhibitions the work every opportunity to speak of matters dear to the artist, rather than being made to fit into an existing discourse.

We, I mean the institutional artworld. We always, in a way, seem to do our best to squeeze life out of art. I think for instance that many processes aiming at getting the viewer nearer to art are actually creating more distance. Since the ninenties, we apparently decided to strangle life out of art by forcing bitter reality upon it.
Shouldn’t we really take upon ourselves to relax a little. And accept the fact that reality, and also art, is multifarious, diverse, many-sided. That there is no way that we can ever grasp, let alone categorize reality and art. And that we need those things we don’t understand (Mr. Buergel) Maybe we are then able to see the image has already unbend.

I was struck some time ago by an essay of Carlos Fuentes on Cervantes Don Quichotte in the NRC-handelsblad of 16 december last year. What he says about literature and Cervantes also applies here. A good work of art doesn’t provide certainties. It stresses the crucial uncertainty of the narrative. Of all narratives. Of all that is being put forward. The dwelling upon, the elaboration, the digression (uitweiding, afdwaling) are not the margin, the superfluous, the ballast of the unnecessary. On the contrary it’s the soul of the artistic process. As it is, I think, the soul of Thomas Hirschhorns authentic artistic position.

To be honest I was quite uncertain what to say today on this occasion. But I think I have said enough now. Ten years ago I was moved by the fragile beauty of Skulptur Sortier Station, a work so provisional and yet so powerful and effective. I still feel a deep affinity with this artist who is not exactly afraid to overdo things somewhat and has the rare gift to be able to share his existential anxieties with us.
Thank you

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