Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary: The Commissions Book
Eva Ebersberger, Daniela Zyman (Eds.)
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary & Sternberg Press, 2020
A massive anthology of texts, visual material, and research on TBA21’s commissions and the foundation’s vast collection of over 700 artworks.
“What survives after the artwork?” asks curator and researcher Natasha Ginwala in one of the essays in Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary: The Commissions Book, a new and comprehensive publication by the art foundation Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), founded by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza in Vienna, Austria, in 2002. “The artwork is not just the thing in itself, but also the metaphysical infrastructure and unfinished relationships that produce it,” Ginwala writes. In that sense, this anthology of texts, visual material, and research on TBA21’s commissions and the foundation’s vast collection of over 700 artworks serves as vivid testimony to the processes and relationships that enabled them.
In over 1,300 pages The Commissions Book engages with more than 100 works of art, proposing a speculative topography that organizes and weaves together sequences of potential narratives and interrogations along with close examinations of different works of art and a collective archive of images. The stories embedded in these works, as well as in TBA21 and TBA21-Academy’s practice–an itinerant site of transdisciplinary research and cultural production engaging with the oceans–is a story of making new connections, or rather creating interconnections. Bringing together visual and written material from TBA21’s commissioning practice and vast history of exhibitions and live events, The Commissions Bookalso goes beyond the foundation’s archives to present new works and commissions by Cecilia Bengolea, Claudia Comte, SUPERFLEX, and Territorial Agency, amongst many others. New essays by Natasha Ginwala’s and such transdisciplinary feminist thinkers as Astrida Neimanis and Eva Hayward transcend individual artistic positions and ask questions that lie at the core of TBA21’s program.