Reflecting shared communal traditions and updating them with a punk-infused injection of activism. Join us as we take a look at how Rirkrit Tiravanija is changing the world, one meal at a time.
In the words of art curator Rochelle Steiner, Tiravanija’s work is “fundamentally about bringing people together.” Exactly what we’re doing at The Responsa Foundation, too.
Best known for his intimate installations, which often involve audience participation and revolve around shared communal traditions such as cooking or making music.
A pioneer of avant-garde art practices in the 90s, Rirkrit swerves away from the traditional art world and emphasises the social, cultural, and activist aspects of art instead. He often addresses political and social issues; for example, in his piece Fear Eats the Soul, he set up a soup kitchen – transforming the gallery space into a communal dining room. Visitors were served curry and were able to quietly contemplate their new surroundings, or dive into a discussion with their neighbour. The audience were asked to consider the ties between food and politics, and to discuss the recent Thai political protests, which were largely glossed over by western media.
There’s a punk, DIY aspect to Rirkrit’s work, with one of his shows having a makeshift plywood printing workshop, where you can get political slogans from the artist screen printed on your t-shirt while you wait.
By creating these communal environments, he invites people from all walks of life to inhabit his artworks, to talk and engage in not just shared meals, but discussions on their own past, their own history, to contemplate how we arrived at this moment in time, and how we might make the rest of our time here a fairer place for everyone.