He is widely regarded as a leading artist of his generation. Best known for his sculptural constructions produced from disposable mass manufactured goods, Hirschhorn gathers together references and imagery culled from popular media alongside the work of radical theorists such as Gilles Deleuze and Georges Bataille.
Hirschhorn uses everyday and found materials such as plastic sheeting, cardboard, aluminium, packing tape and magazine images to create a dystopian reality. The process of making remains visible and becomes a metaphor for the individual and collective struggle to establish democracy. Implicated in Hirschhorn's work, viewers are obliged to consume and reflect upon that which they may have hitherto been able to ignore in their daily lives. The disparity between the viewer and the bombardment of blown-up imagery reminds us of how distant and removed we can feel when confronted with such imagery.
Hirschhorn has exhibited worldwide and in 2011 was recipient of the ‘8th Kurt Schwitters Award', Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany. In the same year he represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennale.
In 2019 a major new work titled ‘Robert Walser-Sculpture' was unveiled at Place de la Gare, Biel, Switzerland. Notable solo projects include ‘In-Between', South London Gallery, London, England (2015); ‘Flamme Eternelle' at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France (2014) and ‘Gramsci Monument', a major public installation presented by Dia Art Foundation and located at Forest Houses, a New York City Housing Authority development in the Morrisania neighbourhood of the Bronx, New York, USA (2013).
Forthcoming solo exhibitions will include ‘The Purple Line', MAAXI, Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome, Italy (2020); ‘Community of Fragments', GL Strand, Copenhagen, Denmark (2020) and ‘World Airport', Mudam Luxembourg - Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg (2020). Other notable solo exhibitions include ‘Resculpt', Ming Contemporary Art Museum (McaM), Shanghai, China (2018-2019); ‘Never Give Up The Spot', Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, Germany (2018-2019); Pixel-Collage, Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark (2017); ‘Thomas Hirschhorn. Double Garage', Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany (2016); ‘Stand-Alone', The Mistake Room, Los Angeles, USA (2016); ‘Pixel-Collage', Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris, France (2016); ‘A Ruin is a Ruin', Galerie Susanna Kulli, Zurich, Switzerland (2016); ‘New Pixel-Collage', Dvir Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel (2016); ‘Thomas Hirschhorn: Equality Float', Es Baluard Museu d'Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma, Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2016); ‘Aftermath', Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany (2015); ‘Touching Reality', Institute Of Modern Art Brisbane, Brisbane, Australia (2013); ‘Timeline: Work in Public Space', Dia: Chelsea, The Dia Art Foundation, New York, USA (2012); Ce qui vient (That which comes), Les Atelies de Rennes, France (2010); ‘Too-too Much-Much', Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (2010-2009) and ‘Thomas Hirschhorn: It's Burning Everywhere', Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, Scotland (2009).
Major group shows include: ‘End of Future', La Tallera, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico (2019-2020, forthcoming); ‘Theater of Operations. The Gulf Wars 1991-2011', MoMA PS1, New York, USA (2019-2020, forthcoming); ‘Atlas. Cartographie du don', Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland (2019-2020, forthcoming); ‘Age of You', MOCA Toronto, Canada (2019-2020); ‘Hybrid Sculpture: Contemporary Sculpture of the collection of the Stedelijk Museum', Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2019-2020); ‘MAXXI THE STREET', MAXXI, Rome, Italy (2018-2019); ‘OpenART Biennale', Örebro Konsthall, Örebro, Sweden (2019); ‘Catastrophe and the Power of Art', Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2018-2019); ‘Les utopies modernes', Centre Pompidou Provisoire, Malaga, Spain (2017-2020); ‘56th International Art Exhibition - All the World's Futures', Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2015); ‘Scenes for a New Heritage: Contemporary Art from the Collection', Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (2015); ‘Under the Clouds', Serralves Museum, Porto, Portugal (2015); ‘MANIFESTA 10, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art', Saint-Petersburg, Russia (2014); ‘The Human Factor', Hayward Gallery, London, England (2014); ‘1984-1999. The Decade', Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France (2014); ‘Metamatic Reloaded', Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland (2013-2014); ‘Only Sculpture!', Kunsthalle Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany (2013); ‘The Art of the Present', Helga de Alevear Collection, Centro Centro, Madrid, Spain (2013); ‘Theatre of the World', Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tazmania (2012) and ‘Masters of Chaos', Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, France (2012).
Hirschorn's works are included in prominent collections internationally, including the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris; Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philidephia Museum of Art, Philidephia; Tate Modern, London, England.