Antonia Hirsch: Negative Space. Installation view, SFU Gallery, 2014. Photo: Blaine Campbell

Antonia Hirsch: Negative Space

September 6 – December 13, 2014
SFU Gallery

Antonia Hirsch’s practice testifies to a long-standing engagement with the quantitative, spatial and syntactic systems that structure an understanding of our universe. The opposite of chaos, cosmos can be defined as a complex and organized system: the ordered universe. Hirsch’s work often relates these ordering structures to embodied and visual experience, considering how the equivocal and often ideological nature of these representational systems is expressed through a level of abstraction.

Negative Space is an exhibition of new work that investigates the interrelation of inner and outer worlds. As the title indicates, the works consider the space around and between subjects and systems. The installation includes images and objects that span from astronomy to contemporary mobile devices as points of departure to address a complex network of speculative ideas. The exhibition’s exploration of seeing and believing manifests in evocations of outer space and devices such as the Claude glass (or black mirror)–used by 18th and 19th century landscape painters–that simultaneously pull the user into an interior world while projecting worlds away. As all cosmologies attempt to understand the implicit order within a whole, Hirsch’s work opens up a space for speculation on desire and human experience. Taking up a history of reflection, Negative Space sets forth inquiries into the contexts of technology, philosophy and creative practice, questioning how we and our devices–both historical and present day–favor the image over the “real.”

Hirsch is a Berlin based artist, writer and editor. Her work has been exhibited at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; The Power Plant, Toronto; Taipei Fine Arts Museum; Tramway, Glasgow; and ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, among others, and is held in the public collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery, National Gallery of Canada, and Sackner Archive of Concrete & Visual Poetry, Miami Beach. Her writing and projects have appeared in artecontexto, C Magazine, Fillip, and The Happy Hypocrite. She is the editor of the anthology Intangible Economies (Fillip, 2012).

The exhibition Negative Space is a catalyst for a parallel publication operating between an artist book and a topical anthology that will be released in 2015. Edited and introduced by Hirsch, it contains conversations and texts by artists, writers, and theorists. Hirsch’s publication is the second in SFU Galleries Critical Reader Series that presents contemporary art and ideas parallel to SFU Galleries’ programs (the first is The Bells that focuses around the work of Damian Moppett).

Negative Space is supported by a Project Grant for Organizations in the Visual Arts from Canada Council for the Arts.

Curated by Melanie O'Brian.


Opening Reception
Saturday, September 6, 11am - 1pm

Sounding the Universe
Saturday, September 6, 12pm
Live Performance with Nicole Chung, Alexis Douglas, Louise Ironside, Maren Lisac and Alex Mah

For a Long, Long, Long Time: The Music Appreciation Society Presents Drones
Wednesday, November 19, 7pm
Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

For more information click here.

Support Material


Download Antonia Hirsch's Annotated Bibliography and Reading List

Read a review of Antonia Hirsch: Negative Space by Curtis Grauhauer published in SFU's The Peak (Issue 148/12)

Listen to a recording of Sounding the Universe, performed at the Opening Reception of Antonia Hirsch: Negative Space


Negative Space: Orbiting Inner and Outer Experience, Edited by Antonia Hirsch

Negative Space: Orbiting Inner and Outer Experience is the second in SFU Galleries Critical Reader Series. Edited by artist Antonia Hirsch, the book includes contributions, interviews and reproduced texts by Theodor Adorno, Lorna Brown, Daniel Colucciello Barber, Elena Filipovic, Francois Laruelle, Olaf Nicolai, Lisa Robertson, Ana Teixeira Pinto and Wolfgang Winkler.

Regular Price: 15$

For more information and to purchase this publication, click here.