Tom Sachs at Deichtorhallen Hamburg

Tom Sachs at Deichtorhallen Hamburg

Tom Sachs (New York City, 1966) is a sculptor well known for his elaborate recreations of various icons of our contemporary world, based on bricolage and the recovery of materials that to define artistic would sound a bit unusual. But after having digested Marcel Duchamp, we know what the thought that leads to the index is, an index made to indicate and to choose.

For example, in one of his first exhibitions, the author had reconstructed Knoll International office furniture with telephone directories and adhesive tape; later, he recreated an icon of modernity (the Marseille Unité d’Habitation by the great architect Le Corbusier) using only foam core (i.e. building panels) and glue. Another project was the rebuilding of the bridge of the USS Enterprise (CV-65), the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in history and the eighth United States of America unit to use this name. Up to including in his repertoire McDonald’s and the Hello Kitty cat, without forgetting the Krusty t-shirt and sticker, the Nugget playing cards (edited in multiple colors), the chess set, the personalized marker, and so on.

Behind this way of proceeding there is a merciless analysis of contemporary society and of the world of goods that dominates it (and with the ability to darken every little thinking brain), a strong conceptual imprint that supports its way of proceeding and a undeclared propensity for that alternative world of many young authors used to producing everyday objects (such as t-shirts or backpacks or brooches) and which are then sold online. In this way the work becomes a continuous digestion of signs and images that are transformed at supersonic speed.

All without sweetening the final image, that is, without wanting to refine it. As if to say, we are light years away from Ingres, from his way of proceeding, from the smoothness of his forms, from the cloyingness of his world. Sachs, on the other hand, is rusp and artisanal, which does not mean being hasty or devoid of philosophy, but only that he looks to other worlds that are not exactly the plastered ones of the past.

Now, Deichtorhallen Hamburg hosts an incredible exhibition project by Tom Sachs: a series of works (some of which unpublished) unfold on 3 thousand square meters, the common thread of which is given by the same title: “Space Program: Rare Earths”, fourth appointment of an imaginative journey who wants to explore other worlds and intergalactic space. And who as a child fantasized with Flash Gordon (by the great Alex Raymond) or Nembo Kid (aka Superman, signed by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) today has the opportunity to find himself/herself inside a new space mission that will begin with a marathon of twelve hours on the day of the vernissage. Visitors can not only book for “take off”, but can also take a short course to join the Tom Sachs team.

As if to say, involvement is guaranteed, obviously for those who want to get involved, for everyone else there remains the possibility of a distant view, a bit like visiting the sculptures of Villa Borghese. To quote Ford Beckman we could say: young and old, come everyone, fun is guaranteed.

And for those who are skeptical, we do not remember the numerous exhibitions in this author’s curriculum, but we only make a brief summary of the main museums and public collections that host his works: Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo, Norway; Georges Pompidou Center, Paris, France; Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa; Prada Foundation, Milan, Italy; The Getty Museum, Los Andgeles, California; Jewish Museum, New York, NY; Maramotti Collection, Reggio Emilia, Italy; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; MoMA, New York, NY; Sammlung Essl Collection, Vienna, Austria; MoMA San Francisco, San Francisco, California; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

Fabio Fabris


Tom Sachs, Space Program: Rare Earths
19/09/2021 – 10/04/2022
Deichtorhallen Hamburg
Deichtorstr. 1-2
Hamburg, Germania
+49 (0) 40 32103-200

Tom Sachs, Mission Control Center (MCC), 2007-2016. Space Program: Mars – Park Avenue Armory, New York, 2012. Photo: Genevieve Hanson © Tom Sachs, courtesy Deichtorhallen Hamburg

Tom Sachs, Landing Excursion Module (LEM), 2007. Space Program: Mars – Park Avenue Armory, New York, 2012. Photo Genevieve Hanson © Tom Sachs, courtesy Deichtorhallen Hamburg

Tom Sachs, Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF), 2011. 1972 Winnebago Brave, Mixed Media. Photo: Genevieve Hanson © Tom Sachs, courtesy Deichtorhallen Hamburg


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