It’s a Sinking Feeling: Thomas Hirschhorn’s “Concordia, Concordia”

In the past, cruise ships conjure images of all-you-can-eat buffets and sequins and more recently, thanks to the Costa Concordia, the word “cruise ship” isn’t so benign, summoning ideas of misrule and catastrophe. Regardless, when we think about cruises, we don’t generally associate them with contemporary art.

Danish artist, Thomas Hirschhorn, disrupts this perspective with an upcoming, massive installation at Gladstone Gallery. You may already be familiar with Hirschorn’s work; in 2009, he turned Gladstone into a giant gymnasium [As seen in image, above]. His latest installation veers into darker territory. “Concordia, Concordia,” recreates its namesake disaster, the ship that capsized in early 2012 killing 32 people. While “Concordia, Concordia,” will explore the significance of this single, tragic incident, it also tackles a greater theme, which Hirschhorn terms “contemporary disaster”.

Says Hirschorn in his artist’s statement: “As many people, I saw the pictures showing the inside of the sunken cruise ship Costa Concordia after the wreck…I was struck by this apocalyptic upside down vision of the banal and cheap “nice, fake, and cozy” interior of the overturned ship. This pictures the uncertainty and precariousness of the past, of the present moment, and of the future. I saw it as an amusing and disturbing but nevertheless logical and convincing form. This must be the form of our contemporary disaster.”

“Concordia, Concordia” will open this fall at Gladstone Gallery. For more information, visit the gallery site here.

Kit Warchol