b. 1961, Argentina

Rirkrit Tiravanija Biography

Hugo Boss Prize-winning contemporary artist Rirkrit Tiravanija is one of the foremost artists working with social interaction and activation. His communal, participatory approach and pioneering relational asesthetics have seen galleries and museums transformed into social environments.

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Early Years

Born in Buenos Aires, Tiravanija had an international childhood, a result of his father's diplomatic service. This nomadic life is reflected in his work in the blending together of different cultural contexts.

After time spent in Thailand and Ethiopia, Tiravanija took up his studies in Canada at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto (1980–1984), followed by the Banff Center School of Fine Arts (1984), the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1984–1986), and the Whitney Independent Studies Program in New York (1985–1986).

Rirkrit Tiravanija Artworks

People are Rirkrit Tiravanija's primary medium. As a pioneer of relational aesthetics, from the early 1990s he has orchestrated ambitious social interactions that defy typical art classification and rely on visitors for their activation. He also addresses social interactions and injustices through film and text-based works.

Pad Thai

Concerned with human engagement in real time and transcending conventional gallery and museum conduct, his communal series 'Untitled 1990 (Pad Thai)' (1990), first staged at Paula Allen Gallery, New York, was more a social-leisure event than an exhibition. Eschewing an object-based approach and deconstructing art practices, Tiravanija transformed the gallery into a kitchen, from where he cooked and served vast quantities of Thailand's popular Pad Thai noodle dish to visitors.

Tomorrow Can Shut Up and Go Away

Tiravanija's upending of institutional space and involving the audience in his process has been elaborated over the years. In Untitled, 1999 (tomorrow can shut up and go away) (1999), for example, Tiravanija invited visitors to drink tea together and hang out in a replica of his three-room East Village apartment. This fully functioning domestic space was reconstructed at full scale in the Serpentine Gallery, London for his solo show Retrospective (2005), where people were encouraged to use it as if it were their own apartment—cooking, eating, and sleeping in the space.


It is Tiravanija's skepticism about institutional structures that characterises his practice and has led him to work with propaganda slogans. Looking to this apparatus and to the abstract powers that are at play in society, he produces text drawings overlaid on pages of newspaper like untitled 2017 (fear eats the soul/saturday, january 21, 2017) (2017).

The Land Foundation

Community action and fostering engagement is never far from his work, as seen in Tiravanija's creation of The Land Foundation with Kamin Lertchaiprasert. This shared plot of land in Sanpatong, Thailand is used for development initiatives including cultivating rice and channeling solar power with input from local and international artists, including Tobias Rehberger and Superflex.

Public Commissions

In 2017, Tiravanija was selected to create a flag for Creative Time's 'Pledges of Allegiance' public art commission. Each flag, out 16 raised across the U.S., was intended to convey art's capacity to mobilise political change by engaging with issues the artists are passionate about.

The message of Tiravanija's flag Untitled 2017 (Fear Eats The Soul) (White Flag), which decorated the roof of the Arts Council of Princeton's Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, is tied to its allusion to German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. The film explores themes of xenophobia and racism.

Awards and Accolades

Concurrent to his practice, Tiravanija works as a professor at Columbia University School of the Arts and has received numerous awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship (1994), the Lucelia Artist Award from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (2003),the Hugo Boss Prize from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2004), and the Silpathorn Award from Thailand's Ministry of Culture (2017).


Rirkrit Tiravanija has been the subject of solo exhibitions and group exhibitions across the globe.

Solo exhibitions include Rirkrit Tiravanija: untitled 2019 (the form of the flower is unknown to the seed), Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London (2019); Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Green, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2019); Tomorrow is the Question, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2016); Focus: Rirkrit Tiravanija, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2014); Rirkrit Tiravanija Retrospektive, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany (2010); Rirkrit Tiravanija: A Retrospective (Tomorrow is Another Fine Day), Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2004); Projects 58: Rirkrit Tiravanija, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (1997); Rirkrit Tiravanija: Untitled, 1994 (From Baragas ... to Reina Sofia), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (1994).

Group exhibitions include The Paradox of Stillness: Art, Object, and Performance, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2020); Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905 – 2016, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016); Installations: Selections from the Guggenheim Collections, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (2008); The Shapes of Space, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2007); 50th Venice Biennale (2003); Performance Anxiety, Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago (1997); L'Hiver de l'Amour, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1994); Fluxattitude, New Museum, New York (1991).

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2022

Rirkrit Tiravanija Featured Artworks

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Untitled 2022 (?) by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork sculpture
Rirkrit Tiravanija Untitled 2022 (?), 2022 Mirror polished Nichol plated brass, LED mirrored bulbs
71.1 x 53.3 x 15.2 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
untitled (t-shirt demonstration drawing) n°141 by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork works on paper, drawing
Rirkrit Tiravanija untitled (t-shirt demonstration drawing) n°141, 2010 Graphite on letter size paper
26 x 34.5 cm
Galerie Chantal Crousel Contact Gallery
Untitled 2018 (It's Raining Men, LA Times, December 2017) by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork works on paper
Rirkrit Tiravanija Untitled 2018 (It's Raining Men, LA Times, December 2017), 2017 Enamel paint on newspaper mounted on linen
94.5 x 68.75 inches
Starkwhite Enquire
Untitled by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Rirkrit Tiravanija Untitled, 2018 Acrylic and newspaper on linen
232 x 140 cm
Para Site
untitled (immoral compass) by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork painting
Rirkrit Tiravanija untitled (immoral compass), 2018 Oil and newspaper on linen
219 x 286 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
Untitled by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork installation
Rirkrit Tiravanija Untitled, 2010 Brick-manufacturing oven, raw bricks, tools, variable size
Tang Contemporary Art Contact Gallery
Moon rise - Time is setting - Tomorrow never arrives by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork works on paper
Rirkrit Tiravanija Moon rise - Time is setting - Tomorrow never arrives, 2013 Screen print, relief print, metal foil, etching, STPI handmade cotton paper

STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery
Doubt does not travel in a straight line by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork print
Rirkrit Tiravanija Doubt does not travel in a straight line, 2013 Screen print, metal foil, STPI handmade abaca paper
102 x 102 x 3 cm
STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery Contact Gallery

Rirkrit Tiravanija Current Exhibitions

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Rirkrit Tiravanija Represented By

David Zwirner contemporary art gallery in 19th Street, New York, USA David Zwirner Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris
Gladstone Gallery contemporary art gallery in 515 West 24th Street, New York, USA Gladstone Gallery Brussels, New York, Seoul
Tang Contemporary Art contemporary art gallery in Beijing, China Tang Contemporary Art Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong

Rirkrit Tiravanija In Ocula Magazine

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