Thomas Hirschhorn was born in 1957 in Bern, Switzerland. After studying at the Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich, he moved to Paris in 1983 where he has been living and working since.
His work has been presented in many international exhibitions such as Skulptur Projekte Münster (1997), the Venice Biennale (1999 and 2015) where he represented Switzerland in 2011, Documenta11 (2002), 27th Sao Paolo Biennale (2006), 55th Carnegie International, Pittsburg (2008), La Triennale at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012), 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012), Manifesta 10 at Saint-Petersburg (2014), Atopolis Mons (2015), Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2018), Steirischer Herbst, Graz (2021). Other venues have hosted solo exhibitions, among which the Art Institute of Chicago (1998), Museum Ludwig, Cologne (1998), Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht (2005), Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2005), Museum Tinguely, Basel (2013), South London Gallery (2015), Kunsthal Aarhus, (2017), Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2018), GL Strand, Copenhagen (2021). A complete survey of his “Pixel Collage” works is presented at Fondazione MAXXI, Rome (fall 2021). With each exhibition – in a museum, gallery or alternative space – and with every work in public space, Hirschhorn asserts his commitment toward a non-exclusive public.
Over the years, Hirschhorn has created more than seventy works in public space, questioning the autonomy, the authorship and resistance of a work of art, and asserting the power of art to touch and transform the other. “I want to use art as a tool to establish a contact with the Other – this is a necessity – and I am convinced that the only possible contact with the Other happens “One to One”, as equal.” Through his experience of working in public space, Hirschhorn has developed his own guidelines of “Presence and Production” in being present and producing on location during the full course of his projects. “To be ‘present’ and to ‘produce’ means to make a physical statement, here and now. I believe that only through presence—my presence —and only through production —my production— can my work have an impact in public space or at a public location.” These demanding projects include Musée Précaire Albinet (Aubervilliers, France, 2004), The Bijlmer Spinoza Festival (Amsterdam, 2009), Flamme Eternelle (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2014), What I can learn from you. What you can learn from me (Critical Workshop) (Remai Modern, Saskatoon 2018), and the Robert Walser-Sculpture (Fondation Exposition Suisse de Sculpture, Biel, Switzerland, 2019).
Thomas Hirschhorn has dedicated works to philosophers, writers, artists he loves, in the form of large sculpture works such as altars, kiosks, monuments, maps and collages. With his series of four monuments: Spinoza Monument (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1999), Deleuze Monument (La Beauté, Avignon, France, 2000), Bataille Monument (Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany, 2002) and Gramsci Monument (The Bronx, New York, 2013) produced by Dia Foundation New York, Hirschhorn asserts his will “to establish a new definition of monument in provoking encounters and creating an event”.
Thomas Hirschhorn received the Preis für Junge Schweizer Kunst (1999), the Marcel Duchamp Prize (2000), the Rolandpreis für Kunst im öffentlichen Raum (2003), the Joseph Beuys Prize (2004), the Kurt Schwitters Prize (2011) and the Meret Oppenheim Prize (2018).
Work by the artist is represented in museums and public collections worldwide, among which the Art Institute of Chicago; Centro de Arte Contemporanea Inhotim, Bela Horizonte; Collection Jumex Mexico; Dia Art Foundation, New York; K21 Düsseldorf; Kunsthalle Mannheim; Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg; Musée d’Art Moderne Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, MoMA New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munchen; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Modern, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.