We remember vividly the images on the news of the luxury Italian cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, when it ran aground off the coast of Italy earlier this year.
The artist Thomas Hirschhorn was so taken by the images from inside the sunken luxury liner, with walls turned into ceilings and all the beautiful furniture and furnishings gently floating in the water, that he was inspired to conceive a new work “Concordia, Concordia”.
Walking into Gladstone gallery in Chelsea, we were astounded to see most of the enormous space transposed in to the scene of the sinking of the cruise ship. Life jackets were strewn on the floor, hundreds of dinner plates, the grand piano now on the wall, books flying, it was mayhem, just like the sinking of the ship must have been. Staring at the uneven surfaces of the installation had us feeling oddly seasick because of all the unusual angles and objects.
We stood for ages drinking in all the details and memories of the news footage began to flood back, excuse the pun, and we remembered the angry shouts of the Italian Coast Guard shouting at the cruise ship captain “Get back on board, captain” as the ship’s captain left his vessel, leaving his well-heeled passengers to fend for themselves.
Thomas Hirschhorn. Concordia, Concordia. Gladstone Gallery. 530 West 21st Street. September 14th – October 20th, 2012