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.Read More
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
Despite numerous cancellations and postponements, several significant biennales in Europe and Asia will take place this year.
Ocula presents a selection of exhibitions to catch during the 7th edition of Paris Gallery Weekend.
The Ocula team present picks from Taipei Connections, an online platform launched by Ocula and Taipei Dangdai.
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...