Alexandra Mir, Triumph, Detail, 2009
‘Triumph’ at the Shirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt is Aleksandra Mir’s first solo show in Germany. Inspired by a friend who had been a famous athlete in his youth and kept mementos of his achievements, Mir placed an ad in the local newspaper in Palermo, Italy, where she lives, asking for old sports trophies. Within a few months, Mir collected 2,529 trophies and had them cleaned and archived. In the exhibition, the trophies are displayed individually and in groups on plinths and the floor, or piled on top of each other like detritus. Mir explores the power of the trophy, both a coveted symbol of accomplishment and a garish, mass-produced item of little value.
Each trophy has a story, and many of the trophies Mir collected, old and unwanted, reflect a common theme of looking back on lost youth and vitality, and holding on. As the cheap metal tarnishes and the memories of victory fade, the time comes when the trophies are taken out to the trash, or in this case, sold to Mir for €5 each.
Aleksandra Mir recently gained international attention with her ‘Plane Landing,’ a life-sized inflatable jet that was installed last year in Zürich as well as various sites around Paris. She is a participant in this year’s 53rd Venice Biennale. ‘Triumph’ runs May 14-July 26, 2009 at Shirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt.