(b. Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1961; lives and works in New York, Berlin, and Bangkok)
COMMISSIONED BY ARTSPACE
Rirkrit Tiravanija, Untitled, 2009 (Pay Attention), New Zealand, Nationwide. Photo:Courtesy of Artspace.
Untitled, 2009 (Pay Attention)
monday 25 may, 2009
New Zealand, Nationwide
In 1993, Rirkrit Tiravanija gave a lecture to a graduate seminar at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He was following Lincoln Tobier who had just been thoroughly questioned about his practice and the meaning of his art. The lights were turned off; Tiravanija turned on the projector and clicked the advance button. The sound of the projector moving the carriage and the momentary darkness set the stage for the first slide. He began, "Basically the first work." He was quickly interrupted by a student who said there was no slide therefore he couldn't see what Tiravanija was talking about. He was right, there were no slides. Tiravanija's response was simple. How would showing a slide change the reality of what I'm describing, you can't smell or taste the Pad Thai? It was not that he was against showing an image; it was a question of us trusting him and trusting ourselves. The reality of what was being described was as much in our head as what had happened at that exhibition in New York in 1992.
Too often our experiences are mediated. Many of us desire this mediation, as we don't trust ourselves. This is nowhere greater then in the Visual Arts though writing and the speculative essay by curators and education departments. Pay attention and the world will unfold before you.
- Brian Butler
Tiravanija's One Day Sculpture project involves the mailing of an announcement card to Auckland commissioner Artspace's mailing list. Tiravanija uses the postal system as a means to activate an action in public space - the act of attention being drawn to the traffic beacons which stand either side of pedestrian crossings in New Zealand cities. These are now invariably flat representations of the original spherical beacons. Tiravanija's card might be considered within the history of dispersed actions such as Douglas Huebler's Duration Piece # 9 (1969) and Cildo Meireles' Insertions into Ideological Circuits (1968-70) and On Kawara's postcards. Unlike these early works, however, Tiravanija's project is proposed not as an object which circulates across time and space, but here the card is rather a tactical instruction to the recipient by which their 'attention' is drawn to something that is pre-existing in public space, something which in itself may already be a form of public sculpture. Tiravanija uses the 'readymade' of the One Day Sculpture announcement card to insert this work into the system of One Day Sculpture announcements which have circulated during the year long series. But in this case, the date is replaced with 'TODAY', suggesting perhaps the transgression of the rule that each One Day Sculpture project should operate on a specific date. The official date for Tiravanija's project is Monday 25th May, but Tiravanija indicates the fallacy of such directives. The work operates when it is received. As Nikos Papastergiadis has suggested such works might be considered as "circuit breakers" in the system of signs which constitute our world.
- Claire Doherty
Rirkrit Tiravanija, Untitled, 2009 (Pay Attention) is commissioned by Artspace
Rirkrit Tiravanija, demostation, Portikus, Frankfurt, 2002
Calling New York, Berlin, and Chiang Mai home, Rirkrit Tiravanija is the embodiment of the nomadic artist. Inherent to the itinerant lifestyle is the constant flexibility, negotiating between cultures, requiring a redefinition of self within the context of place and situation that ultimately serves as inspiration. Tiravanija turns the flux of his nomadic lifestyle into a fluid narrative between art and life, transcending the lines between conventional gallery space and convivial social space.
In an ongoing process that doesn't differentiate between art and life, one of Tiravanija's characteristic artistic acts is cooking for gallery goers as in his Untitled (Free) (1992) and again in the 1993 Venice Biennale. In an art context, the action of cooking and giving asks the participants to experience the work with all their senses. Throughout his creative practice, Tiravanija's work is consumed without being owned, a subversive act that questions the usual roles between gallery and audience, giving and receiving, ownership and property.
Solo exhibitions include Retrospective, Muse d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2005), Retrospective, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2004), Social Pudding with Superflex, 1301PE, Los Angeles (2004). Prestigious group exhibitions include dAPERTutto 48th International Venice Biennale (1999), International Sydney Biennale (1998). For the 50th International Venice Bienale (2003) Tiravanija co-curated Utopia Station.