Rirkrit Tiravanija

Ghost Reader, 2013

Video

Dimensions Variable


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Artwork
Description

The artistic repertoire of Rirkrit Tiravanija is singular in the unique direction of his works… Unlike so many of his contemporaries whose work is defined by a preoccupation with the deficits of 21st Century society, Tiravanija revels in its positives. His installations feature rooms or stages which focus on social exchanges, such as cooking and sharing meals, reading or playing music. The dynamics of humility and human connection are core elements of his work, a despite not being immediately obvious, Annlee too represents said themes.

In 1999, artists Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe purchased the rights and imagery to an unassuming Manga figure known as ‘Annlee’. In Japanese comic books and video games, characters are valued in relation to the complexity of their personality, and their ensuing ability to adapt to a story-line and last several episodes. As Parreno noted, with “[t]rue heroes being rare and extremely expensive”, having no particularly exceptional qualities would have seen Annlee quickly disappearing off the scene. Buying the figure for the modest sum of 46,000 yen (around €350) ultimately salvaged her from an industry which would have certainly condemned her to death.

Labelling it the “No Ghost Just a Shell” Project, Huyghe and Parreno intended their venture to continue for a number of years. The use of Annlee was offered to other artists gratis, while at the same time, the initiators set up production facilities in Paris, so that intricate and expensive video animation was available for the figure. Each of the projects realized through Annlee is a ‘chapter in the history of a sign’, and has a ‘life’ in the context of both the individual artists’ oeuvre and within the collaborative as a whole. The common goal of her sustained prolificacy brought together artists from diverse mediums and backgrounds. In his 2003 piece Ghost Reader, Rirkrit sees the heroine in an eight-hour film where she reads the entire text of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the novel by Philip K. Dick which inspired Blade Runner.

About
the artist

Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961, Buenos Aires, Argentina) lives and works in New York, Berlin and Bangkok. He studied at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto (1980-1984), The Banff Centre School of Fine Arts, Banff (1984), and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1984-1986). He is on the faculty in the School of Visual Arts at  Columbia University  in New York, the winner of the prestigious 2010 Absolut Art Award and the Guggenheim’s 2004 Hugo Boss Prize.

Tiravanija’s works concern themselves with the individual’s experience of the communal, where socialising is a core element. His installations often take the form of stages or rooms with large architectural structures for playing music, sharing meals, cooking or reading. Offering a utilitarian ambiance, he invites the viewer to take part in his work; This unremitting ability to physically engage his viewer is what gave him international reputation. The importance of encouraging social interactions between people, through art or food, underlines the main pull of Tiravanija’s works. Relational aesthetics best describes his practice – it is a term that refers to human relations and their social context, rather than the private space itself (Nicolas Bourriaud, 1998). Considering Tiravanija’s works, Adam Welch comments that “one gets the sense of an Utopian ideal that transcends the rationalism of art institutions and is realised through the individual experience of the communal”. In the art world in particular, Rirkrit questions the traditional spatial appreciation of art and undermines the notion of possession and accumulation.

Much of Tiravanija’s early work involved cooking in an art-related space such as a museum or gallery, for example, his first solo show, Pad Thai (1990) at the Paula Allen Gallery in New York. One reason Rirkrit cooks and offers food to visitors is to undermine the greed and possessiveness that are so typical of our times. More recently at the Tate Modern, Tiravanija turned to filmmaking to explore the lives of Thai labourers. He suggests that as wealth is accumulated, fewer and fewer people can enjoy it.

For Open Source, Tiravanija has created a film depicting Annlee, an anime character who reads the entire script of 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep', by Philip K. Dick, the novel which inspired Blade Runner. Annlee is a character developed and copyrighted by Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno in 1999. Tiravanija once again explores the communal aspect (reading), but rather differently, as the human interaction is with a digital character.


Tiravanija’s works concern themselves with the individual’s experience of the communal, where socialising is a core element. His installations often take the form of stages or rooms with large architectural structures for playing music, sharing meals, cooking or reading. Offering a utilitarian ambiance, he invites the viewer to take part in his work; This unremitting ability to physically engage his viewer is what gave him international reputation.

For Open Source, Tiravanija has created a film depicting Annlee, an anime character who reads the entire script of ’Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’, by Philip K. Dick, the novel which inspired Blade Runner. Annlee is a character developed and copyrighted by Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno in 1999.


Rirkrit Tiravanija
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition