This project, conceived specifically for the front space of the gallery, takes on the visual qualities of a laundrette. It evokes a similar atmosphere to that of a bright-lit, often uncomfortable space where a routine activity is carried out at regular intervals. The work is constructed from Hirschhorn's trademark materials: hand-made furniture, tape, mirrors, plastic, fake floor tiles, fake wooden walls, vintage television monitors and a wealth of text.
Hirschhorn's processes and materials, his smashed-car-window aesthetics, suggest an urgency as commonplace as a car alarm. Hirschhorn's haphazard cardboard and tinfoil constructions, held together by tape, destabilise what we normally perceive as a comprehensive reality. Striving to raise the level of disorder, his compound reflections - both visual and conceptual - embody the distracted and dispersed consciousness of the present. His works, often left at the mercy of circumstances, are punctuated by ready-mades, mostly texts democratically selected to range from bumper stickers to seminal works.
Hirschhorn subjects us to a culture shock and argues that globalisation is a question of centre versus margins. In Laundrette, a marginal space in a central position, Hirschhorn invites us to be mesmerised by the turning of the washing machines and expects us to take in the overload of visual information.
In the back space of the gallery Hirschhorn will show a project conceived for the launch of the book Material: Public works - The Bridge, a publication realised by Hirschhorn in collaboration with the publisher Book Works. Loosely referencing The Bridge - another intervention commissioned by the Whitechapel Art Gallery for the exhibition Protest and Survive - Hirschhorn returns to combine art with merchandise and text with information, weaving together different institutions in London (see separate press release).
This is Thomas Hirschhorn's first solo exhibition in London since 1998. His recent exhibitions include Archeologie of Engagement at MACBA, Barcelona (2001), World Airport shown at the 48th Venice Biennale (1998) and subsequently at The Renaissance Society in Chicago (2000), Focus at The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (2000), Raymond Carver Altar at The Galleries at Moore in Philadelphia (2000), Ein Kunstwerk, ein Problem at Portikus in Frankfurt, World Corners at Chisenhale Gallery in London and Swiss Army Knife at Kunsthalle Bern (1998). His recent group exhibitions include Protest and Survive at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London (2000), Unfinished History at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (1999), Freie Sicht aufs Mittelmeer at the Kunsthaus in Zürich (1997) and Skulptur Projekte in Münster (1997). This year Hirschhorn has been awarded the Prix Marcel Duchamp 2001 for the POLE-SELF exhibition at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.