Debora Hirsch

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Debora Hirsch
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Born (1967-08-19) August 19, 1967 (age 56)
São Paulo, Brazil
  • Polytechnic School
  • SDA Bocconi School of Management
Alma materUniversity of São Paulo
  • Engineer
  • Artist
Known for
  • Painting
  • Video
  • Installation art
  • Mirror-box

Debora Hirsch (born 19 August 1967) is a Brazilian/Italian visual artist that works with paintings, videos and installations. Hirsch is an engineer, self-taught as an artist.

Early life and education

Hirsch was born in São Paulo, Brazil. Her father is an entrepreneur, son of a German cardiologist of Jewish origin who immigrated with his family to Brazil due to Nazi persecution. She studied Industrial Engineering at the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo and has an MBA at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan.

Art practice

Research-based process is at the core of Hirsch's work. In 2016, Hirsch presented the Donotclickthru project, composed of drawings and paintings and an interactive website/artwork that simulates the Internet communication format and functioning.[1][2][3] Debora Hirsch also presented Donotclickthru at MOCAK, Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków at the exhibition Art in Art and the work is now part of the museum collection.[4][5] In 2018, she was selected for a residency at the RU Residency Unlimited in Brooklyn, New York where she developed her research for Firmamento. Firmamento's imagery includes symbolic objects/architecture details, digital data representations, Nature's elements and elements from the historic colonization of the Americas, specially Brazil. In Firmamento paintings and videos, all these elements coexist displaying similarities and interconnections.[6] [7] Debora Hirsch explores the way the structures of power can be subtle, insidious and imperceptible, as well as brutal and invasive, ranging from historic colonization dynamics and their legacy, technological control to dynamics acting at a personal level. She was invited to be an artist-in-residency at AnnexB in 2019. During the residency, she extended her research to a new media: the mirror-box. Her first work using this media was The Iconography of Silence that deals with abuse at a personal level.[8] The Iconography of Silence (mirror-box) was exhibited at A.I.R. Gallery, New York at Currents: an overwhelming response curated by Carmen Hermo.[9] Hirsch talked about Firmamento and The Iconography of Silence in a conversation with curator Carla Lucini organized by AnnexB at Hutchinson Gallery. [10][11][12] In the NIMBY and HeLa projects, Debora Hirsch and Iaia Filiberti researched the life of twelve women living through tragedies that still concern us. These women, most of them activists and/or suffragettes were: Josephine Butler, Frances Power Cobbe, Lizzy Lind af Hageby, Rachel Carson, Mother Jones, Rose Schneiderman, Irène Némirovsky, Bertha von Suttner, Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller, Elizabeth Fry and Henrietta Lacks. HeLa invokes the story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who was diagnosed with cancer in the 1950s. Henrietta’s cells were sampled without her consent. Because her cells could be divided multiple times without dying they were declared “immortal” by the hospital. HeLa cells were successfully cloned, scientists have grown tons of her cells; today, there are more than 10,000 patents using HeLa cells although most research gives no credit to Henrietta Lacks. HeLa installation consists of displaying reams of papers to address unethical science. HeLa was exhibited in 2016 at Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków at the show Medicine in Art and, in 2020 at Smack Mellon, New York at Bound Up Together, an exhibition curated by Rachel Gugelberger.[13][14][15] HeLa installation was also exhibited at New Society for Visual Arts, Berlin in the show Dreams & Drama Law As Literature. Andrea Liu in 2017 brought the subject to the American context at Art Margins. A book by Agnieszka Kilian ensued from the nGbK exhibition, helped to forge a space for communication about Dreams & Drama.[16][17][18] In the project Framed, a collaborative project with artist Iaia Filiberti, Hirsch embarked on the reconstruction of the lives and careers of 100 actresses, each of whom sought the American dream, becoming instead a portrait of vulnerability and impermanence. Framed book, videos and installations were presented at Museu Brasileiro da Escultura e Ecologia, São Paulo; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; MAGA Gallarate; Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków, Krakow; Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, Miami and Palazzo Della Ragione, Verona. Framed 100 round trips to Hollywood was published by Charta in 2010.[19][20][21][22] In her previous works BR-101, a voyage amid the contradictions and paradoxes of Brazil and Stories, portraits and fictional narrations of politicians' life, Debora Hirsch extensively explored the representation of contemporary people famous or unknown.[23][24] In 2019, Debora Hirsch curated Eco Shifters at Carriage Trade, New York and at Fondazione La Fabbrica Del Cioccolato, Torre-Blenio, Switzerland. Eco Shifters refers to the ability to interact, adapt, transform and create new relationships with the environment. [25][26] Hirsch was also part of the editorial staff at E Il Topo Magazine for seven years, 2012-2019.[27]

In the media



  1. Donotclickthru, website
  2. Mousse Magazine, Donotclickthru, 2016
  3. Flash Art, Donotclickthru by Rossella Moratto, 2016
  4. Art in Art, MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, 2017
  5. Collection, MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow
  6. RU Residency Unlimited, Debora Hirsch, 2018
  7. Fugitive Designs, RU residency unlimited, 2019
  8. ANNEXB, Debora Hirsch, 2019
  9. Currents: an overwhelming response curated by Carmen Hermo, A.I.R. Gallery, New York, 2020
  10. Hutchinson Gallery, New York
  11. Talking Art, interview between Debora Hirsch and Egle Prati, 2019
  12. Whitehot Magazine, conversation between Debora Hirsch and Mark Bloch, 2019
  13. Medicine in Art, Museum of Contemporayr Art in Krakow, 2016
  14. Flash Art, Medicine in Art by Agnieszka Sural
  15. Bound Up Together curated by Rachel Gugelberger, Smack Mellon, New York, 2020
  16. Dreams & Drama. Law As Literature, nGbK, 2017
  17. Dreams & Drama. Law As Literature by Agnieszka Killian, nGbK and HIT Gallery. Released: December 2017. ISBN 978-3-938515-67-9
  18. Art Margins, Dreams & Drama. Law As Literature by Andrea Liu, 2017
  19. Framed 100 round trips to Hollywood, Charta. Released: September 2010. ISBN-10 : 8881587866 ISBN-13 : 978-8881587865
  20. MuBE Museu Brasileiro da Escultura e Ecologia, Ida e Volta, 2013
  21. Rolling Stone, Framed – Ida e Volta, 2013
  22. MAP Voglio soltanto essere amato, MAGA, Gallarate, 2012
  23. BR-101, Fondazione Adriano Olivetti, Rome, Nero Edition, 2008
  24. Wall Street International, Debora Hirsch: Stories, 2012
  25. RSI Television, Cima Norma Arte, interview, 2019
  26. Ecoshifters curated by Debora Hirsch, Fondazione La Fabbrica del Cioccolato, Torre-Blenio, Switzerland, 2019
  27. E Il Topo, website

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