Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija is widely recognised as one of the most influential artists of his generation. His work defies media-based description, as his practice combines traditional object making, public and private performances, teaching, and other forms of public service and social action. Winner of the 2005 Hugo Boss Prize awarded by the Guggenheim Museum, Tiravanija was also awarded the Benesse by the Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Japan and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lucelia Artist Award.
Having completed two residencies with STPI (the first in 2013, and the second in 2015 with Anri Sala, Tobias Rehberger and Carten Höller), Rirkrit Tiravanija returned for a third residency spanning 2019 to 2023 to create his Extinction series. Tiravanija’s continuing collaborative relationship with the STPI Creative Workshop team is apparent in his sustained material and technical explorations since 2013. From 3D printing to the use of thermochromic ink (a heat-sensitive ink), the artist displays a keen awareness and playfulness in working with the methods and expertise available to him, leading to a body of work that is conceptually and technically cohesive.
The Extinction series reveals how we do not recognise the appalling rate of species extinction and the climate emergency looming overhead. The implications of these works are manifold, ranging from the lack of sight and relationships with these animals and environments, to the circulation of images and information surrounding these issues, and the possible extinction of humans ourselves—taking along many other species with us. Crucially, the works in this series require a level of audience or environmental participation in order to fully activate them, congruent with his socially-engaged practice. The results of this residency culminates in a solo exhibition with STPI Gallery, We Don’t Recognise What We Don’t See (8 April to 4 June 2023) curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of Serpentine Galleries.
He has had exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Guggenheim Museum of New York, the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hirschhorn Smithsonian, Glenstone Museum, Luma Foundation in Arles and at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam that then was presented in Paris and London. Tiravanija is on the faculty of the School of the Arts at Columbia University, and is a founding member and curator of Utopia Station, a collective project of artists, art historians, and curators. Tiravanija is also President of an educational-ecological project known as The Land Foundation, located in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he maintains his primary residence and studio.