Rirkrit Tiravanija

Artist who favours relations over objects

Sociable collaboration between artists, and artists and their publics, is virtually the rule now. But it’s been Rirkrit Tiravanija’s wheelhouse (most famously involving serving meals to visitors as art) for close to a quarter-century, and the Thai catalyst’s example only looks more important as time goes on. Clarifying his generational impact, when Tiravanija recently collaborated with 40 people on a nearly 27m-long print chronicling his nomadic life, he exhibited it alongside work by rising star Korakrit Arunanondchai, his own former student. In the latest iteration of his Tomorrow is the Question, at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Tiravanija invited viewers to play ping-pong. In LA, meanwhile, collaborating with design studio WHY, he set up a timberframed house as a focus for interactions with the proximate Los Angeles River, a project highlighting the crucial importance of water and a reminder that bringing people together always has political potential.