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b. 1961, Argentina

Rirkrit Tiravanija Biography

Rirkrit Tiravanija is the foremost artist working with social interaction and activation. His communal participatory approach, pioneering of relational aesthetics, has seen him transform galleries and museums into social environments and produce text-based work with aims of addressing social interactions and injustices.

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Rirkrit Tiravanija had an international childhood, a result of his father's diplomatic service. After time in Thailand and Ethiopia, Rirkrit Tiravanija took up his studies in Canada at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto (1980–1984), followed by Banff Center School of Fine Arts (1984), School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1984–1986), and Whitney Independent Studies Program in New York (1985–1986).

People are Rirkrit Tiravanija's primary medium. As a pioneer of relational aesthetics, from the early 1990s he has orchestrated ambitious social interactions, which defy typical art classification and rely on visitors for their activation.

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, Rirkrit 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.

Rirkrit 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 brought in full-scale to the Serpentine Gallery, London for his solo show Retrospective (2005) where people were encouraged to use it like their own; cook, eat, and sleep in the space.

It is Rirkrit 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).

Community action and fostering engagement is never far from his work, as seen in Rirkrit 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.

Concurrent to his practice, Rirkrit 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), and the Hugo Boss Prize from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2004).

His work has been exhibited in countless solo exhibitions and group exhibitions globally, including Reina Sofia, Madrid (1994); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1997); Kunsthalle Bielefield (2010); Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas (2014); ICA, London (2019); Hirschhorn Smithsonian, Washington (2019); National Gallery Singapore (2018); and ICA, London (2019).

Ocula | 2020

Rirkrit Tiravanija Featured Artworks

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Untitled by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork
Rirkrit TiravanijaUntitled, 2018Acrylic and newspaper on linen
232 x 140 cm
Para Site
untitled 2020 (once upon a time) (map, 1961) by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork
Rirkrit Tiravanijauntitled 2020 (once upon a time) (map, 1961), 2020Hand tufted rug
198 x 313 cm
Galerie Chantal Crousel Contact Gallery
untitled (immoral compass) by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork
Rirkrit Tiravanijauntitled (immoral compass), 2018Oil and newspaper on linen
219 x 286 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
untitled 2019 (the form of the flower is unknown to the seed) by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork
Rirkrit Tiravanijauntitled 2019 (the form of the flower is unknown to the seed), 2019Installation/situation (table, chairs, cabinet, shelf, bar, lamps, ceramics, sake, a lot of people). Dimensions variable. Unique in a series of 3
Pilar Corrias Enquire
Untitled, 1995 (450/375) (For Parkett 44) by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork
Rirkrit TiravanijaUntitled, 1995 (450/375) (For Parkett 44), 1995Gold rimmed Ray Ban glasses with engraving on the lenses
2.5 x 16 x 6.7 cm
Parkett Contact Gallery
Untitled by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork
Rirkrit TiravanijaUntitled, 2010Brick-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
Rirkrit TiravanijaMoon rise - Time is setting - Tomorrow never arrives, 2013Screen print, relief print, metal foil, etching, STPI handmade cotton paper
STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery Contact Gallery
Doubt does not travel in a straight line by Rirkrit Tiravanija contemporary artwork
Rirkrit TiravanijaDoubt does not travel in a straight line, 2013Screen print, metal foil, STPI handmade abaca paper
102 x 102 x 3 cm
STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery Contact Gallery

Rirkrit Tiravanija Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Artists for New York at Hauser & Wirth, 22nd Street, New York
Closed
1–22 October 2020 Group Exhibition Artists for New York Hauser & Wirth22nd Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Rirkrit Tiravanija, untitled 2020 (once upon a time) (after jasper johns) at Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris
Closed
5 September–10 October 2020 Rirkrit Tiravanija untitled 2020 (once upon a time) (after jasper johns) Galerie Chantal CrouselParis
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Turning the Axis of the World at STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery, Singapore
Closed
15 August–13 September 2020 Group Exhibition Turning the Axis of the World STPI - Creative Workshop & GallerySingapore

Rirkrit Tiravanija Represented By

Rirkrit Tiravanija In Ocula Magazine

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The Major Biennales Going Ahead in 2020 Ocula News The Major Biennales Going Ahead in 2020 London, 8 July 2020

Despite numerous cancellations and postponements, several significant biennales in Europe and Asia will take place this year.

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Paris Gallery Weekend: Exhibitions to See Ocula Feature Paris Gallery Weekend: Exhibitions to See By Tessa Moldan, Paris

Ocula presents a selection of exhibitions to catch during the 7th edition of Paris Gallery Weekend.

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Taipei Connections: Eleven Works to Collect Ocula Insight  |  In Partnership with Taipei Connections Taipei Connections: Eleven Works to Collect By Sam Gaskin, Taipei

The Ocula team present picks from Taipei Connections, an online platform launched by Ocula and Taipei Dangdai.

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Emi Eu: ‘We have to look at Southeast Asia as one market’ Ocula Conversation Emi Eu: ‘We have to look at Southeast Asia as one market’ By Stephanie Bailey, Singapore

STPI's Emi Eu reflects on S.E.A. Focus, an STPI project platforming artists and galleries from Southeast Asia, in the wake of Art Stage's decline in 2019.

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Rirkrit Tiravanija In Related Press

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What Happens When Artists Run Restaurants? Related Press What Happens When Artists Run Restaurants? 5 July 2019, Frieze

Last month, a new sake bar opened at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts: a softly lit tunnel of booze that promises the kind of entrancing conversation one can never quite remember the next morning. A permanent installation designed by the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, untitled 2019 (the form of the flower is unknown to the seed) is furnished...

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Singapore Art Week Related Press Singapore Art Week 23 February 2018, art agenda

Developed by the Singapore government in 2013 in an attempt to create hype around the fair Art Stage Singapore, Singapore Art Week (SAW) is a loose collection of events organized by museums, art spaces, and cultural producers. This year’s edition featured a series of festivals that turned the Civic District’s museums into glowing canvases for art...

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Ugo Rondinone 'I ♥ John Giorno' at Various venues, New York Related Press Ugo Rondinone 'I ♥ John Giorno' at Various venues, New York 27 July 2017, Mousse Magazine

Ugo Rondinone: I ♥ John Giorno —the first major U.S. exhibition about the American poet, artist, activist and muse John Giorno—has opened simultaneously across 13 locations in New York City. I ♥ John Giorno is a work of art by Giorno's husband, the Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. The exhibition is a celebration of the life and work of...

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John Giorno Related Press John Giorno 25 July 2017, artforum.com

I learned early on from the eats, such as Allen Ginsburg and William Burroughs—and the Pop artists too—that archives were very important. This was around the late 1950s, or the beginning of the '60s. So, I just saved all of my work. My parents had a house in Roslyn Heights, Long Island, and for fifty years I brought everything I made...

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