Thomas Hirschhorn

Thomas Hirschhorn

Touching Reality

5 October–30 November 20135 Oct–30 Nov 2013

Death has the tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.—Donald Rumsfeld

Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn’s video Touching Reality conflates seeing and touching. We watch fingertips scroll through photographs on a touchscreen. The photos are of corpses and carnage; scenes of war, violence, and dismemberment; bodies burnt and shredded. We see heads blown apart; bits of muscle, viscera, and brain matter. We do not find such images in newspapers, but they are accessible on the Internet. The shots are generic (they could be from anywhere), yet specific (we see individuals uniquely mangled). The fingers caress the screen, stopping to zoom in for more detail, then move on. But we don’t know their motivation. Are the fingers concerned, prurient, both, or neither? Certainly, they show us more than we might care to see.

The Institute of Modern Art acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which the IMA now stands, the Jagera, Yuggera, Yugarapul, and Turrbal people. We offer our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first artists of this country. In the spirit of allyship, the IMA will continue to work with First Nations people to celebrate, support, and present their immense past, present, and future contribution to artistic practice and cultural expression.