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Cover Green Falls, 2017 (detail on/off ) Acrylic and oil on acrylic glass, spy mirror, plastic foil, LED tubes, cables and electric control box (230 × 178 × 37 cm) Private collection, Hamburg 1 Gold im Fluss (Gold in the Flow), 2016 (detail lights on) Oil on acrylic glass, spy mirror, wood and aluminum structure, cables and LED tubes (200 × 200 × 80 cm) Collection of the artist, Berlin


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2 FreischĂźtzwald, 2019 (detail) Acrylic and oil on acrylic glass, spy mirror, cables, LED-tubes and wood (230 x 80 x 65 cm)


My heart was becoming my own foreigner – a stranger precisely because it was inside. Yet this strangeness could only come from outside for having first emerged inside. A void suddenly opened in my chest or my soul – it’s the same thing – when it was said to me: ‘You must have a heart transplant.’ Here the mind runs into a non-existent object [un objet nul ] – there is nothing to know, nothing to understand, nothing to feel: the intrusion on thought of a body foreign to thought. This blank will stay with me, at the same time like thought itself and its contrary. 1 These words were written by French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy in 2000 for his powerful autobiographical essay L’intrus (The Intruder). The book, an intimate confession about the physical, psychological and philosophical consequences of his own transplant, was adapted into a movie by French director Claire Denis four years later, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in the official competition. Back in the early 1990s, Jean-Luc Nancy, just like Fürhofer in the summer of 2006, had received a similar verdict: they both needed heart transplants. Munich Hypo-Kunsthalle, 2018

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As I entered his office, situated at the end of a hallway featuring blockbuster exhibition posters proudly hanging on the walls from René Magritte and Paul Gauguin to Jean Paul Gaultier, Roger Diederen, director of the institution, asked me from behind his desk: ‘How is your heart doing, Thierry?’ This question might sound vapid to a complete stranger, especially to the young man in his mid-thirties, whom I had never met, seated in the Breuer chair in front of me. A bit uncomfortably, I answered that ‘everything is back on track, knock on wood!’ Awkwardly, I mention to the young man sitting with us that Roger is not referring to my love life, but to my actual heart, the organ pumping in my chest, and briefly explain that I caught a nasty virus the year before that almost killed me . . . Looking at me straight in the eyes, he bluntly replied: ‘Oh, I see. I had a heart transplant at 24.’ I was in a bit of a shock. Memories of my days in the intensive care unit went through my mind at full speed, all of the wires fixed to my body, doctors coming every two hours, obviously worried about my troponin levels, taking chest X-rays mornings and evenings, monitoring any water accumulation on my lungs or my heart, doing what they could to try to save me and hoping for the best. Back then, at 40 years old, this was a lifechanging event, as it probably was for him, too, in his early twenties. I had never met another heart survivor. Not that I was I looking for one, but I lived in total denial the first two years after it happened, trying to pretend nothing ever happened to me. I think it somehow was a good self-defense mechanism, allowing me to move on with my life and projects. After what I refer to as ‘the incident’, every heart palpitation, every extra systole I had, had a much different significance and impact, keeping me very concerned and incredibly


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37-38 Sundowner, 2018 (lights off / on) Acrylic and oil on acrylic glass, spy mirror, light bulbs and cables (92 × 92 × 20,5 cm) Private collection 39-40 Carmen, 2018 Set and costume design Director: Stephan Märki Konzert Theater Bern, Switzerland


As a young man looking for a career in the wide world of culture, Philipp Fürhofer, born in 1982 in Bavaria, more precisely Augsburg in Southern Germany, also the birthplace of Bertolt Brecht, Hans Holbein and Leopold Mozart, father of Wolfgang Amadeus, was unsure at first whether to opt for music – as a professional pianist – or visual arts. He opted for art school rather than music school. Inevitably, his love of music would reflect quickly in his visual work to become literally and metaphorically a reflection of his deep and engaged interest in music and, specifically, that peculiar sometimes almost unbearably exciting métier of opera. It is of course the art form that literally brings together as one thing the abstract implications of music of each opera, the more literal significance of storyline, words and human character, together with the mood-creating power of the artificially seen, and sometimes as well, when appropriate, as it very often is, the emotive power of gesture and dance. An audience member, if she or he thinks on the matter, will with difficulty be able to identify who might be the most responsible one for the general atmosphere generated by a particular production, such is the prevalence today of the ‘Konzept-Oper’ production where an idea that lies outside the direct literalness of the original musical score and its dramatic text has become almost ubiquitous in the opera world. Each production of every opera becomes a more, sometimes less, successful statement and interpretation of the piece performed, be it 400 years old – when opera as a recognizable art form was first put on even if it had its antecedents in the Western world surely in ancient Greek theatre – or 40 years old. Opera is often a vast collaborative art form consisting of performers, both visible to the audience on the stage itself and semi visible, conductor and orchestra, ideally hidden as Richard Wagner was able to do in Bayreuth and then there’s the veritable army of invisible workers, from the director to the orchestra, the designers, the teams responsible for costumes, the lighting, the scene shifters, etcetera. Even in a small theatre with an audience of a few hundred, maybe 200 professionals might be present at the making of a performance. No wonder the opera is an art form that is expensive to create: the economics of its survival is a subject of its own not to be taken for granted. The economics are a far cry from the artist producing ‘masterworks’ in her or his proverbial garret or even in a studio with some assistants. This model of the artist makes painting-like objects that have at least the illusion of permanence that makes each work of a successful artist marketable, even profitable. For the other vital aspect of the opera form is its essential ephemeral nature – music in any case only exists when it is performed and is an essential part of its beauty – like that of moments of life itself that split moments after happening to vanish forever, never, even in the magic age of instant recording in we all fondly imagine we are living, to be fully recovered. Philipp Fürhofer – let me call him Philipp from now on – has managed to oscillate between these two worlds not only with astonishing success, but also with a consistency that leads one to suspect that it is for the most part his imagination above all that drives the success of the more impressive theatrical/opera performances with which he has been involved. All his art is involved with the magic of illusions, the magic of the mirrors, and the elusiveness and kinetic quality of time that in its turn is so bound up with the essential nature of music. In pursuit of his aims he at least gives the appearance of having created a space for himself where he is able to luxuriate in an imaginative otherworldly creativity in which that total dream-like illusion can be fully realized for himself and by osmosis for the spectators of his art, whether on the stage or in his art pieces. His career has been


After working more than ten years in the fashion industry, he curated the various renditions of the exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. Initiated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, it travelled to twelve cities, from Paris to Seoul, and drew more than 2.1 million visitors, breaking record for a fashion exhibition. It was followed by his exhibition Love is Love: Wedding Bliss for All à la Jean Paul Gaultier, presented at the MMFA and at the Centro Cultural Néstor Kirchner in Buenos Aires, and curated the exhibition JPG: Be my Guest at the London College of Fashion (LCF). He also curated and wrote the books of the travelling exhibitions Peter Lindbergh: A Different Vision on Fashion Photography, presented in Italy, The Netherlands and Germany, and of Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists, first presented at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, followed by its presentation in the summer of 2018 at the Kunsthal Rotterdam to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the duo. He also curated the touring exhibition and book on French creator Thierry Mugler, Thierry Mugler Couturissime, a world premiere at the MMFA in 2019, it toured to Kunsthal Rotterdam, Hypo-Kunsthalle Munich and Musée des Arts Décoratifs Paris. Born in Quebec City, Loriot also collaborates with musicians, among them signer Isabelle Boulay on the art and creative direction of her album En vérité, and did the creative direction of Rufus Wainwright’s world tour All These Poses. In 2019, Loriot received the Vanguard Award from CAFA (Canadian Arts and Fashion Award) for important contributions made to the Arts and Fashion.

After he received a heart transplant in the beginning of the 1990s and a prolonged battle with cancer, Nancy redirected his intellectual efforts toward the experiences of both physical and phenomenological embodiment. The results, ‘Corpus’ (1992), L’Intrus (The Intruder, 2000) and ‘Noli me tangere’ (Touch Me Not, 2003), that were lauded by Derrida as the essence of the Postmodern age. His text L’intrus offers a personal account of his condition, and it inspired the film of the same name directed by Claire Denis in 2004.

Emily Ansenk is a Dutch art historian and Director of the Holland Festival. From 2008-2019 she was director of the Kunsthal Rotterdam. Previously, she was the founder and director of the private museum Frisia (later Scheringa) in Spanbroek, North Holland and curator of the ING Collection. During the past years, under her leadership a large number of successful international exhibitions have been programmed and organised, such as Alberto Giacometti, Edward Hopper and His Time (2009), Edvard Munch, I Promise to love you, Caldic Collection, Jean Paul Gaultier, from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, Keith Haring: The Political Line and the Kunsthal-produced international travelling exhibition Peter Lindbergh. A Different Vision on Fashion Photography. She also initiated a number of innovative and committed projects, such as the digital platform Maak Mee, in which the public was involved in selecting and making a main exhibition at the Kunsthal (2013), Museum Minutes (2012) about extending the time spent watching art, and the two long-term programmes: Kunsthal Live (2017) and All You Can Art (2016-2019).

Thomas Rogers is a freelance journalist in Berlin who writes frequently about art and culture and about the European far right. Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, he is a dual citizen of Germany and Canada. He received a BA in film studies and a BSc in biology from Queen’s University, and an MA in journalism at New York University, and has lived in Edmonton, Toronto, Glasgow and New York. He worked for five years as an editor at Salon dot com and has written about culture for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Monocle, The New Republic and The Globe and Mail, among others.

Ulrich Baer is University Professor at New York University and writes frequently about photography, art, literature, and other subjects. Born in Germany, he received his B.A. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Yale University and has been awarded Guggenheim, Getty, and Humboldt fellowships. He is the author of What Snowflakes Get Right: Free Speech, Truth and Equality in the University (Oxford University Press, 2018); Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma (MIT Press); The Dark Interval: Rilke’s Letters for the Grieving Heart (New York: Random House and London: Bloomsbury), among other books, and the creator and host of two podcasts: Think About It and The Proust Questionnaire.

Jean-Luc Nancy is a French philosopher. Along with founding post-Structuralists Jacques Derrida and Jean-François Lyotard, Jean-Luc Nancy has consistently challenged the role of the 20th-century philosopher. Born in 1940 in Paris and educated at the Strasbourg Institut de Philosophie and Université de Toulouse IlLe Mirail, Nancy witnessed the uprisings of May 1968 as well as the evolution of Situationism. Beginning with the publication of Le titre de la lettre (The Title of the Letter, 1973), written in collaboration with longtime friend Philippe LacoueLabarthe, Nancy rigorously incorporated concepts of semiotics, psychoanalysis and phenomenology into a system of thought that was both highly critical of metaphysics and yet intimately bound to the subjective experience of the human. In 1982’s La communauté désœuvrée (The Inoperative Community, 1982) – considered to be his magnum opus on the politics of community – Nancy revealed his deep commitment to Heideggerian narratives of ontology and subjectivity as well as his increasing divergence from the more agnostic theories of Derrida.

Alongside his collaborations with different artists (e.g., choreographer Mathilde Monnier), Jean-Luc Nancy writes on contemporary art and regularly contributes to exhibition catalogues. He has written on the artists On Kawara (Technique du présent : essai sur On Kawara; 1997) and Jean Michel Atlan (Atlan : Les Détrempes; 2010), and his book L’evidence du film (2001; The Evidence of Film) is on the work of the Iranian filmmaker, Abbas Kiarostami. While Nancy’s most important philosophical reflections on art can be read in the book Les Muses (1994; The Muses), he does not limit himself to theory and criticism, but has also written poetry and theatrical texts, including an adaptation of Goethe’s Faust, Part One for an installation by the artist Claudio Parmiggiani. Nancy was Professor at l’Université des Sciences Humaines in Strasbourg, the University of California (San Diego), The European Graduate School and at Berkeley, Irvine and Berlin Universities.

Sir Norman Rosenthal is a British art historian and curator. Studied at the University of Leicester and subsequently undertook postgraduate studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London University as well as the Free University of Berlin. He organised his first exhibition at the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery in 1955 and subsequently worked inter alia at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. From 1977 to 2007, Sir Norman was Exhibition Secretary of the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Amongst the significant contemporary exhibitions that took place during that period were Robert Motherwell (1978), A New Spirit in Painting (1981), Sensation (1997), Apocalypse: Beauty and Horror in Contemporary Art (2000), Frank Auerbach (2001), Georg Baselitz (2007). In Berlin he was co-responsible for the groundbreaking exhibitions; Zeitgeist (1982), Metropolis (1991), and The Age of Modernism – Art in the 20th Century (1997). Since leaving the Royal Academy of Arts, he works with established and emerging artists, and is a freelance consultant and curator to museums and private galleries and individuals in the UK, Europe, Turkey and the USA. He sits on various boards connected to the arts. He was knighted in 2007.

Denise Wendel-Poray is a Canadian writer, journalist and curator holding degrees from the universities of Yale and McGill. She is the author of books and essays concerning the relationship between art, theatre and music (Frauen-liebe und Leben: Hatje-Cantz, 2013 and Painting The Stage: Artists as Stage Designers: Skira Editore 2019). She has co-curated shows at the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum in Germany, (100 Years Lehmbruck’s Kneeling Woman) and in Austria at Rupertinum Museum in Salzburg, (William Kentridge’s works for theatre), Sammlung Friedrichshof (Elective Affinities). As a journalist, she contributes publications such as: Opera Canada Magazine, ArtPress and the Wiener Kurier. She has been guest lecturer at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf on the subject of stage design.


Concept and text: Thierry-Maxime Loriot Contributions by: Thierry-Maxime Loriot, Jean-Luc Nancy, Sir Norman Rosenthal, Ulrich Baer, Emily Ansenk, Denise Wendel-Poray, Thomas Rogers and Rufus Wainwright Designer: Paprika, Montreal www.paprika.com Copy editing: D’Laine Camp Lithography and printing: NPN Drukkers, Breda Paper: 150 g Magno Volume, 100 g Spectral Extra Weiss Publisher: Eelco van Welie, nai010 publishers The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. All reasonable efforts have been made to obtain permission to use copyright material reproduced in this publication. In cases where this has not been possible, owners are invited to notify the publisher. © 2020 Philipp Fürhofer, Thierry-Maxime Loriot, the authors and nai010 publishers, Rotterdam. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. For works of visual artists affiliated with a CISAC-organization the copyrights have been settled with Pictoright in Amsterdam. © 2020, c/o Pictoright Amsterdam nai010 publishers is an internationally orientated publisher specialized in developing, producing and distributing books in the fields of architecture, urbanism, art and design. www.nai010.com. nai010 books are available internationally at selected bookstores and from the following distribution partners: North, Central and South America - Artbook | D.A.P., New York, USA, dap@dapinc.com Rest of the world - Idea Books, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, idea@ideabooks.nl For general questions, please contact nai010 publishers directly at sales@nai010.com or visit our website www.nai010.com for further information.

ISBN 978-94-6208-558-9 Printed and bound in the EU


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Philipp Fürhofer (Dis)Illusions  

Combining painting, sculpture and set design, Philipp Fürhofer's multidisciplinary artistic practice is a blend of modern materials mixed wi...

Philipp Fürhofer (Dis)Illusions  

Combining painting, sculpture and set design, Philipp Fürhofer's multidisciplinary artistic practice is a blend of modern materials mixed wi...

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