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Alumni News |
Mar, 2019

SOMEWHERE UNDER A VAST SOLID DOME, Solo show by Debora Hirsch at Galerie Dix9

Firmamento (bare dome), 2018 Acrylic, oil and ink on canvas, 86x130cm

Galerie Dix9 is pleased to present
Debora Hirsch
From May 18 to June 15, 2019
Opening Friday, May 17 / 5pm - 9pm

GALERIE DIX9 Hélène Lacharmoise
19, rue des Filles du Calvaire 75003 Paris - M° Filles du Calvaire
Tuesday-Friday: 2pm-7pm, Saturday 11am-7pm and upon appointment
Tél : +33 (0)1 42 78 91 77 - mobile +33 (0)6 33 62 94 07
website :


Galerie Dix9 is pleased to introduce a new solo exhibition of the Brazilian artist Debora Hirsch in Paris and presents two new projects - a series of works titled Firmamento and the film installation Iconography of Silence. These multi-part works utilize a variety of mediums and techniques, including film, photography, painting, sound, and digital algorithms.

New technologies have the ability to reshape our worldview and everyday interactions. In the current knowledge economy, a small number of companies dominate the internet, and by default determine the ways we interact and access information online globally. Critics of this dynamic have called it “digital colonialism.” Firmamento and Iconography of Silence approach this topic through the lens of surveillance, and the ways in which “neutral” technologies can be political or exert violence on communities and individual users.

In Firmamento, Hirsch draws from her archive of images from the European colonialist period in Brazil—buildings, paintings, drawings, engravings, objects, vases, tapestries—and combines them with visualizations from the algorithms that manage and control our data online. In Hirsch’s words, she uses these visualizations “as a surveillant and ubiquitous presence vis a vis the Colonial structures.” In this poetic way, she links the idea of Digital Colonialism to the long history of colonial oppression and violence, drawing attention to the subtle architectures that shape our understanding of culture and history.

Aside from her research engaging digital colonialism, I would like to mention the importance of language as a coded system in Debora’s work. The roots of the word Firmamento has its own significance—in biblical cosmology, the firmament is the all-encompassing structure above the atmosphere of Earth, conceived as a vast solid dome—representative of a belief system imposed on colonized peoples by European explorers from Portugal and a broader restructuring of their concept of reality. Similarly, in Iconography of Silence, the words are chosen for the abuse they inflict on their subjects, though on a more intimate, one-to-one level.

Iconography of Silence addresses intimate violence between partners, projecting abusive phrases and chilling scenes captured on security cameras onto a mirror. The viewer, reflected in the mirror, is placed into a digital landscape and implicated in the scene. They must wrestle with their past experiences and personal relationship to the content; Iconography of Silence is a powerful work about any form of abuse.

Firmamento and Iconography of Silence inform each other. While one is soft and poetic the other one is brutal and disturbing, almost violating emotions of a viewer. They explore the way that structures of power can be subtle, insidious, and invisible, as well as brutal. Debora Hirsch’s visual language deliberately invites us to rethink our actions and existence, inviting us to not live under glass bell or a solid dome
Text by Lara Pan


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