Thomas Hirschhorn studied from 1978 to 1983 at the Hochschule fuer Gestaltung in Zurich, Switzerland.
In the 1980s, Hirschhorn worked in Paris as a graphic artist.
Hirschhorn uses in his work everyday and found materials such as plastic sheeting, cardboard, aluminium, packing tape and magazine images. His monumental works are concerned with issues of justice and injustice, power and powerlessness, and moral responsibility.
For his piece "Cavemanman", he transformed a gallery space into a cave using wood, cardboard, and tape and put various philosophical and pop culture symbols throughout it.
Hirschhorn has exhibited worldwide. The sister-piece of the work “Untitled (Ingeborg Bachmann)”, 1999, titled “Untitled (George Orwell)” has just been included in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia.
He presented a lecture as part of the "Image & Text: Writing Off The Page" lecture series through the Visiting Artists Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Spring, 2006.
"Gramsci Monument" (2013), named after the Italian thinker Antonio Gramsci, is the first project that Hirschhorn has built in the United States and the fourth and final such work in a series he began many years ago dedicated to his favorite philosophers, following a monument dedicated to Baruch Spinoza in Amsterdam in 1999, one to Gilles Deleuze in Avignon, France, in 2000 and a third to Georges Bataille in Kassel, Germany, in 2002.
In 2015 his major new work titled ‘In-Between' was shown at South London Gallery, London, England. Besides, Hirschhorn's work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museu d'Art Contemporani, Barcelona; Kunsthaus Zürich; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; and Wiener Secession, Vienna.
Hirschhorn is represented by Gladstone Gallery, New York; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; and ARNDT Berlin. Currently, he lives and works in Paris.
The Map of Friendship between Art and Philosophy
Flipper Mit Roten Tränen
Tattoo-serie: Embarrassing Questions
Wood-Chain VII (Great Wall of China)
Subjecter (Stock exchange)
Lines (31 Works)
"A collage is an interpretation. An interpretation that wants to create something new. Doing collages means to create a new world with existing elements of this world. Everyone has once in his life made a collage and everybody is included in a collage. Collages possess the power to implicate the other immediately. I like the capacity of non-exclusion of collages and I like the fact that they are always suspicious and not taken seriously. Collages still resist consumption, even if - like everything - they have to fight against glamorousness and fashionability. I want to put together what cannot be put together, I think that’s the aim of a collage and it’s my mission as an artist.”
"Terms such as obscene are used swiftly in order to protect people from exposure to the truth."
"I'm interested in the "too much", doing too much, giving too much, putting too much of an effort into something. Wastefulness as a tool or weapon."
"I do not want to invite or oblige viewers to become interactive with what I do; I do not want to activate the public. I want to give of myself to such a degree that viewers confronted with the work can take part and become involved, but not as actors."
"This is something essential to art: reception is never its goal. What counts for me is that my work provides material to reflect upon. Reflection is an activity."
Hirschhorn was a member of the group of graphic artists called Grapus. These artists were concerned with politics and culture, displaying impromptu creations and posters on the street mostly using the language of advertisement. He left Grapus to create the installations he is known for today.