Thomas Hirschhorn’s sprawling, raffish, and immersive work shapes public discourse relating to political discontent to offer alternative models for thinking and being. Believing that every person has an innate understanding of art, Hirschhorn resists exclusionary and elitist aesthetic criteria—for example, quality—in favor of dynamic principles of energy and coexistence. His physically ephemeral monuments to great philosophers—Spinoza, Bataille, Deleuze, Gramsci—aim to live on in the collective memory of those who have experienced them. Hirschhorn presents intellectual history and philosophical theory much as he does everyday objects and images, and poses questions about aesthetic value, moral responsibility, political agency, consumerism, and media spectacle. Hirschhorn lives and works in Paris.
Hirschhorn has appeared in major exhibitions at Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2016); South London Gallery (2015); Venice Biennial (2015,1999); Atopolis Mons (2015); Manifesta 10, Saint-Petersburg (2014); Dia Art Foundation (2013, 2012); ICP Triennial (2013); Istanbul Biennial (2013); La Triennale Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Shanghai Biennial (2012); Power Plant, Toronto (2011); Secession, Vienna (2008); Museo Tamayo, Mexico (2008); Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2008); Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montreal (2007); São Paulo Biennial (2006); ICA Boston (2005); CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts (2005); Documenta 11, Kassel (2002); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2001); Kunsthaus Zürich (2001); the Renaissance Society and Art Institute, Chicago (2000).
Hirschhorn received the Kurt Schwitters Prize (2011); Dutch Association Internationale des Critiques d'Art Award (2007); Joseph Beuys Preis für Forschung (2004); and the Marcel Duchamp Prize (2000). A selection of his writings is published by MIT Press (October Books), 2013: Critical Laboratory: The Writings of Thomas Hirschhorn. Hirschhorn’s projects in public space include among others the Gramsci Monument, Bronx, New York with Dia Art Foundation (2013), Flamme éternelle at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014), the Bijlmer Spinoza Festival, Amsterdam (2009), Bataille-Monument, Kassel (2002).
Adrian Searle, “Things fall apart: the beautiful Marxist bomb that’s hit south London,” the Guardian, July 2, 2015
“Thomas Hirschhorn:’Gramsci Monument’ | ART21 ‘Exclusive’,” ART21, Video, 2015
Ken Johnson, “A Summer Place in the South Bronx,” The New York Times, July 25, 2013
Jonathan T.D. Neil, “Dispatches From New York,” Art Review, July 23, 2013
Hal Foster, “Crossing Over,” The Berlin Journal, Spring 2011
Presented in partnership with swissnex, San Francisco.
Thomas Hirschhorn, Gramsci Monument, School Supplies Distribution by Forest Resident Association, 2013
Forest Houses, the Bronx, New York.
Courtesy of Dia Art Foundation, photograph by Romain Lopez.