Hans Haacke's installations use modalities taken from cultural institutions and from advertising techniques, since, as he puts it, "one must learn from the opposition". Haacke considers that the world of art is an arena of political struggle, particularly because it submits to the pressures of the market. The symbols he brings to his work enable him to highlight and analyse different economic, ideological and social power relationships. Whether it is a floating silk fabric, a line of balloons gently poised in the air or water flowing through plastic tubes in the middle of the exhibition space, Hans Haacke uses energies as materials for his works. During his 1967 exhibition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the artist propounded the notion of a "natural system", whereby less use is made of technology, in order to admire pieces whose natural elements are connected together. The works, submitted to the gaze of viewers – who are themselves reduced to the status of witness –, exist on their own terms and are distinguished by their autonomy and independence.
« Haacke rejects the name « sculpture » for his works. He calls them « systems », noting that they « have been produced with the explicit intention of having their components physically communicate with each other, and the whole communicates physically with the environment… Changes are desired and are part of the program – they are not due to the shifting experience of the viewer »
Peter Meschle, “Haacke to Exhibit Kinetic Art”, The Tech, October 17, 1967
Avec le soutien du Goethe-Institut Lyon
©Hans Haacke / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York