Thomas Hirschhorn is a Swiss contemporary artist best known for hypersaturated interactive installations. His aesthetics and artistic vision was heavily influenced by his early contributions to Grapus, a Communist graphic design group concerned with politics and culture. His interest in hard core reality, without disillusions is evident in many of his work, predominantly in his 2012 video piece Touching Reality.
*WARNING, GRAPHIC IMAGES*
Touching Reality is a video piece of a hand scrolling through gruesome images of destroyed human bodies on a touchscreen. The title Touching Reality is meant to be understood literally and provides a way of looking at physical contact with images of violent death. Directly taken from the online circulation of vast images, it is intended to bring discomfort and challenge the viewer’s tactile hypersensitivity to the raw truth of violence and war. In today’s world, reality is heavily covered by reducible information, opinions, comments and facts created by the media which has become the main source of everyone’s information. The images of the corpses in this piece are in its rawest irreducible state that represents the truth of the war and violence without the layers of filters formed by higher power within society. Hirschhorn has integrated these similar themes and images into his previous works including Superficial Engagement (2006), The Incommensurable Banner (2008), Ur-Collage (2008) and Crystal of Resistance (2011). Touching Reality is another successful piece of art in Hirschhorn’s lineup with an underlying message on media propaganda, politics, culture and reality.