Rirkrit Tiravanija

Article Bio Works Merits Projects www
people, Utopia
Visual Arts (curating art, installation art, object)
Europe, Western, America, North, Asia, Southeast, America, South
Germany, United States of America, Thailand, Argentina
New York, Berlin, Bangkok
created on:
June 18, 2003
last changed on:
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Rirkrit Tiravanija
Rirkrit Tiravanija


A beautiful haze

Rirkrit Tiravanija has transformed the constant movement and cultural interaction of his own life into an engaged conceptual art practice. Born in Buenos Aires in 1961, of Thai origin, he was raised in Thailand, Ethiopia and Canada and educated in Chicago and New York. He now lives between Berlin and New York, also spending time in Thailand. His work is exhibited around the world in major museums, galleries and international art events. He is co-curator of ‘Utopia Station’ at the Venice Biennale in 2003.
Rirkrit Tiravanija is a highly successful international artist. His life has been a perpetual negotiation of cultures and languages where itinerancy has become a constant source of inspiration. Born in Buenos Aires in 1961 and raised in Thailand, Ethiopia and Canada, he was educated in Chicago and New York. He now lives between Berlin and New York, also spending time in Thailand.

Tiravanija pursued his art education at a number of prestigious establishments: The Whitney Independent Studies Program, New York; The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; The Banff Center School of Fine Arts, Banff, Canada; The Ontario College of Art, Toronto, Canada.

His work is difficult to categorise and in some ways the term ‘visual artist’ does not accurately represent him. As he says, ‘it is not what you see that is important but what takes place between people’. Tiravanija’s works tend to set the stage, to offer an opportunity or a possibility for interaction and participation. The talent he has for interaction while travelling between different cultures and customs has been transformed into an engaged, and engaging, art practice. He integrates the flux of his itinerant life into sedate museum and gallery spaces, effectively destroying the division between art and life.

Critic Gretchen Faust, in a catalogue essay for the 1995 exhibition ‘Nutopi’ at the Malmo Centre for Contemporary Art in Sweden, describes the artist’s processes:

‘Clearly Rirkrit’s work doesn’t fall into any easy category or conventional process. Around its subjects and correspondences, the work occupies a space, a beautiful haze into which the mind dips and almost understands. He has chosen to align himself within certain limited and defined spheres of creative activity, thus the ineffable is corralled in the most practical of work: feeding and cooking. It is the perfect ease with which Rirkrit acts that is the cue that he comes to art from somewhere else. It is this detachment that lends a fullness to his works, however simple and direct, and it is this integrity of source that saves his work from being coy, didactic or merely clever. He offers options without being reactive; his sources are vaster than mere complaint. Less a critique than an observation and consideration useful, the work is elegant and pragmatic – a vastly simple tracing of movement from the contingent to the ordained.’

Installations have included re-organising a gallery as a temporary kitchen in which he cooked and chatted with visitors. For his project at the Walker Art Center he articulated the intention:

‘The situation is not about looking at art. It is about being in the space, participating to an activity. The nature of the visit has shifted to emphasize on the gallery as a space for social interaction. The transfer of such activities as cooking, eating or sleeping into the realm of the exhibition space put visitors into very intimate if unexpected contact; the displacement creates an acute awareness of the notion of public and private, the installations function like scientific experiments: the displacement becomes a tool and exposes the way scientific thought processes are constructed. The visitor becomes a participant in that experiment.’ (artist’s text)

At the Liverpool Biennial in 2002 he showed ‘Apartment 21 (Tomorrow Can Shut Up and Go Away)’, a representation of his New York apartment constructed in plywood with a working bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, living room and outside area. Visitors were invited to drop in for tea and a chat.

Tiravanija is a world artist who has had countless solo exhibitions in Europe, North America and Japan. Group exhibitions have taken his work to yet more renowned museums and galleries. He is co-curator of ‘Utopia Station’ at the Venice Biennale in 2003. He exhibited at dAPERTutto in the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999. He has shown in many major international art forums such as the Yokohama Triennial, Japan (2001), 1st Fukuoka Triennial, Japan (1999), Sydney Biennial, Australia (1998), Berlin Biennial (1998), Manifesta 1, Rotterdam (1996) and the Whitney Biennial (1995).

He is currently a curator for the ´Open City´ project in Vietnam - a panorama of contemporary art and life in Vietnam. The project will run during 2006 and 2007.

SOURCES: www.artandculture.com profile, ‘Nutopi’ essay catalogue by Gretchen Faust, Walker Art Center online art project
Author: Judith Staines


Rirkrit Tiravanija is a highly successful, internationally itinerant artist. Born in Buenos Aires in 1961 and raised in Thailand, Ethiopia and Canada, he was educated in Chicago and New York. He now lives between Berlin and New York, also spending time in Thailand. His work has been exhibited across Europe, Asia, North and South America. He is co-curator of ‘Utopia Station’ at the Venice Biennale in 2003.


Gordon Matta-Clark – In the Belly of Anarchitect

(with Pierre Huyghe & Pamela M. Lee), Portikus, Frankfurt am Main

Nothing: A Retrospective

Exhibition / Installation,
by Kamin Lertchaiprasert and Rirkrit Tiravanija, Chiang Mai University Museum & „the land“, Chiang Mai

Untitled 1992 (Free)

with Gordon Matta-Clark, David Zwirner, New York

Less Oil More Courage

Exhibition / Installation,
Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel

A Long March

Exhibition / Installation,
Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga Reflection, Nyehaus, New York

Rirkrit Tiravanija: Chew the Fat

Exhibition / Installation,
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University, St. Louis

The House the Cat Built

Exhibition / Installation,
Galeria Salvador Diaz, Madrid

Foster, you´re dead

Exhibition / Installation,
with Neil Logan, Emi Fontana, Milan

magazin station no.5

Exhibition / Installation,
Artspace, Auckland

Palm Pavilion

Exhibition / Installation,

JG Reads

Exhibition / Installation,
Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York

Brychcy Bar

Exhibition / Installation,
Ontario College of Art and Design, Ontario

Stories Are Propaganda

Exhibition / Installation,
with Philippe Parreno, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York

Rirkrit Tiravanija: Editions and Mulitples

Exhibition / Installation,
Helga Maria Klosterfelde, Berlin

Demonstration Drawings

Exhibition / Installation,
1301PE, Los Angeles

Solo Exhibition

Exhibition / Installation,
2005 Serpentine Gallery, London

Social Pudding

Exhibition / Installation,
with Superflex, 1301PE, Los Angeles

Tomorrow Is Another Fine Day

Exhibition / Installation,
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam


Film / TV,
2000 ´Vicinato 2´, with Philippe Pareno, Liam Gillick, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Holler & Pierre Huyghe; Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York ´Vicinato 2´, with Philippe Pareno, Liam Gillick, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Holler & Pierre Huyghe; neugerriemschneider, Berlin 1991 ´Video Event´, Tom Cugliani Gallery, New York

Utopia Station

Exhibition / Installation,
Co-curator for ´Utopia Station´ for 50th Venice Biennale

Social Pudding

Exhibition / Installation,
Galerie for zeitgenossische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany (with Superflex)

untitled 2002

Exhibition / Installation,
´untitled 2002´ (the raw and the cook), Opera City, Tokyo, Japan ´untitled´ (DemoStation no3), Ashai Beer Co, Tokyo, Japan

no fire no ashes

Exhibition / Installation,
neugerriemschneider, Berlin

untitled 2000

Exhibition / Installation,
(Demonstrate), Galeria Salvador Diaz, Madrid, Spain

untitled 1999

Exhibition / Installation,
(Mobile Home), Fundacion La Caixa, Barcelona (tomorrow never lies), Gavin Brown´s Enterprise, New York (reading from left to right), Wexner Center for the Arts, Colombus, Ohio, USA

Community Cinema for a Quiet Intersection

Exhibition / Installation,
(after Oldenburg), The Modern Institute, Glasgow, UK

The Arrival

Production / Performance,
Message to the Public, Spectracolor Board at Times Square, New York (project)


Exhibition / Installation
2009 Playing the City, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt Compass in Hand, MoMA, New York 1992009, D’Amelio Terras, New York 2008 The Greenroom: Reconsidering the Documentary and Contemporary Art, CCS Bard Hessel Museum, New York Out Now! , organized by Anton Vidokle, E-Flux, New York theanyspacewhatever, Guggenheim Museum, New York Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama, Japan The New York conversations, a project by Nico Dockx, Anton Vidokle and Rirkrit Tiravanija, E-flux, New York Installations: Selections from the Guggenheim Collections, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao From Gerhard Richter to Rebecca Horn: Works from the Contemporary Art Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany, Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn Experiment Marathon Reykjavik, Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik Vertrautes Terrain – Aktuelle Kunst in und über Deutschland, ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe Who is afraid of Jasper Jones?, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York The Puppet Show, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica Re-Imagining Asia, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin Pivot Points: Defining MOCA’s Collection, MOCA Miami, Florida Art and Capital: Spiritual Odyssey, Gallery Loop, Korea Servitude & Simulacre, Ce Soir, curated by Jordi Vidal, Paris 2007 IASPIS Open House with open studios, Stockholm Anyang Public Art Project, Anyang The Place & The Plate, LA FÊTE, French Thai Cultural Festival, Bangkok The Lath Picture Show, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York Just use it, Nordjyllands Kunstmuseum, Aarhus Thermocline of Art, New Asian Waves, ZKM, Karlsruhe Art Public Contemporain, Luxembourg Lucelia Artist Award 2001 – 2006, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC Generation 1.5, Queens Art Museum, Queens Sharjah Biennale, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates Il Tempo del Postino, Manchester International Festival, Manchester The Freak Show, Le Musée d’art Contemporain, Lyon Airs de Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris Biennale d’art contemporain de Lyon, Lyon Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967, MCA Chicago The Shapes of Space, Guggenheim Museum, New York 2006 Yes Bruce Nauman, Zwirner&Wirth, New York Into Me / Out of Me, PS1 New York, USA; Kunstwerke, Berlin All Hawaii Entrees / Lunar Reggae, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin The Exotic Journey Ends, Foksal Gallery, Warsaw, kurimanzutto, Mexico Casa aberta, INHOTIM centro de arte contemporanea, Minas Gerais Surprise surprise, ICA, London 27. Bienal de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo Anstoss Berlin, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin Das grosse Rasenstück, zeitgenössische Kunst im öffentlichen Raum, Nürnberg, Infinite Painting, Villa Manin, Codroipo/Udine Again for Tomorrow, Royal College of Art Galleries, London Galleri MGM, Oslo Peace Tower at the Whitney Biennial, New York Open-Ended, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Emergency Biennale in Chechnya, atklasanas forums, Riga, Lettland Satellite of Love, Witte de With, Rotterdam 2005 36 x 27 x 10, White Cube Berlin im ehemaligen Palast der Republik, Berlin Drive. Cars in Contemporary Art, Galleria D’Arte Moderna, Bologna FUSION. Aspects of Asian Culture in the MUSAC Collection, MUSAC, Leon Thank you for the Music, Sprüth Magers, München Nur hier? (3), Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig Fantasia, The Second Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Er-sha Island, Guangzhou Lichtkunst aus Kunstlicht, ZKM, Museum für Neue Kunst, Karlsruhe universal experience. art, life and the tourist’s eye, Hayward Gallery, London Post No Bills, White Columns, New York Biennale d’art contemporain de Lyon, Lyon Räume und Schatten, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin In the Middle of the Night. Die Neuerwerbungen seit 1996, Kunsthalle Bielefeld Nach Rokytnik. The EVN Collection, MUMOK Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Wien Luna Park. Arte Fantastica, Villa Manin, Passariano Universal Experience: Art, Life and the Tourist’s Eye, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, USA Dosenhos: A-Z (Drawings: A-Z), Porta 33, Funchal, Ilha da Madira 2004 Small: The Object in Film, Video an Slide Installation, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York The Encounters in the 21st Century: Polyphony - Emerging Resonances, 21st Century Museum of Modern Art, Kanazawa 70/90 Engagierte Kunst, neues museum, Staatliches Museum für Kunst und Design in Nürnberg, Nürnberg, Social Capital, Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program Exhibition, New York Klütterkammer, ICA, London International 04, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool e-flux video rental, e-flux, New York Dakar Biennial 2004, Dakar Qualsiasi (TV), base, Florenz Artists’ Favourites, ICA Galleries, London 2003 The Big Nothing, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Werke aus der Sammlung Boros, Museum für neue Kunst, ZKM, Karlsruhe Elephant Juice (sexo entre amigos), kurimanzutto, Mexico City The Fifth System: Public Art In The Age Of “Post-Planning”, The 5th Shenzhen International Public Art Exhibition, Shenzhen Installation art 1969-2002; Museum for Contemporary Art MOCA, Los Angeles Utopia Station - Poster Project, Haus der Kunst, München Hands up, baby, hands up, Oldenburger Kunstverein, Oldenburg Everyday, Kunstforeningen, Kopenhagen Identität schreiben. Autobiographie in der Kunst, Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig Utopia Station, co-curator mit Molly Nesbit und Hans-Ulrich Obrist, 50 Biennale di Venezia, Venedig actionbutton, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin Perfect Timeless Repetition; c/o Atle Gerhardsen, Berlin Imperfect Marriages, Emi Fontana, Milano Love Planet, Benesse, Okayama El aire es azul, Casa Museo Luis Barragan, Mexico City 2002 En Route, Serpentine Gallery, London 2002 No Ghost Just a Shell, Kunsthalle, Zurich 2002 The Object sculpture, Henry Moore Foundation, Leeds 2001 Yokohama Triennial, Japan 2001 public offerings, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles 2000 ein/raumen, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg 1999 dAPERTutto, 48th Venice Biennale 1999 go away, artists and travel, Royal College of Art, London 1998 Sydney Biennial, Australia 1998 Videoportraits, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin


The Whitney Independent Studies Program, New York
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
The Banff Center School of Fine Arts, Banff, Canada
The Ontario College of Art, Toronto, Canada


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

The Spirit of the Haus

20 years of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt

(02 September 09 - 30 September 09)


Exhibition, Films, Literature, Dance, Conference

(13 March 08 - 18 May 08)

Spaces and Shadows

Contemporary Art from South East Asia

(30 September 05 - 20 November 05)


Art and Culture

Good profile of artist


Full CV and bibliography


Short profile of Neugerriemschneider, Berlin gallery that represents artist


Short profile of artist with list of six representing galleries around the world

Walker Art Center

"tiravanija1.html" online project with artists text and tour of spaces.

Apartment 21

Liverpool Biennial 2002 project with images of installation