Fake it, Fake it – till you Fake it. at the Gladstone Gallery in New York, presents a thought-provoking exploration by Thomas Hirschhorn that dives deep into the role and responsibility of art in times rife with conflict, entertainment, destruction, and societal upheaval. The exhibition cleverly confronts the dichotomy between the analog, tangible world and the pervasive influence of the digital, especially in the format of social media, video games, and the vernacular, urging a critical examination of our 'fake-utopian' reality where the digital transformation has both connected and divided, creating a façade of perfection that fails to acknowledge its inherent rotteness. Hirschhorn's self-proclaimed commitment to 'the real world' through his 'analog' creations ignites a dialogue about authenticity, representation, simulation, and the essence of truth.
Fake it, Fake it – till you Fake it. stands out for its inventive use of materials and form. The Precarious Sculpture, crafted from everyday items like cardboard, transforms 'fake' computers, video games and credit cards into a poignant commentary on consumerism, digital dependency, and the quest for authenticity. This artistic choice underscores the significance of materiality and the artist's willingness to embrace the fragility, ephemerality and impermanence of the medium. The inclusion of several Call of Duty cut-outs serves as a multifaceted commentary on the intersections between reality and digital simulations, especially in the context of war and violence. These cut-outs, representative of Activision's popular first-person shooter video game, underscore the blurring lines between entertainment and the harsh realities of conflict, challenging viewers to reflect on their perceptions and engagements with digital warfare.
Moreover, Hirschhorn's engagement with the Silicon Valley ethos of "Fake it, till you make it" (think Elizabeth Holmes's monstrous Theranos start-up) adds a layer of introspection and critique to the exhibition. By weaving self-irony, modesty, and a conscious rejection of deceit into his work, the artist reflects on the broader societal implications of 'faking' as a survival strategy, questioning the ethical boundaries between simulation and authenticity, need and deception.
Hirschhorn interrogates the contemporary landscape, where the lines between the real and the virtual, truth and fabrication, are increasingly blurred. The artist invites the audience into a space of reflection and inquiry, where art becomes a medium to challenge, question, and perhaps, understand the complex web of fake-utopian ideals shaping the so-called reality.
LINK: Thomas Hirschhorn at Gladstone Gallery (all inages courtesy of Gladstone Gallery)