PHOTO: © Rirkrit Tiravanija, untitled 2020 (black flag no. 1, new york times, january 17/18, 2018), 2020 © Rirkrit Tiravanija. Courtesy the artist and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.

rirkrit tiravanija - untitled 2024 (the sea you see is not what others see the sea you see is not what other see)

In the organizer's words:

Rirkrit Tiravanija's untitled 2024 (the sea you see is not what others see the sea you see is not what other see), his tenth solo exhibition with the gallery, presents a series of paintings that explore the power of symbols in the collective consciousness, mining narratives historical and contemporary in pursuit of a language of imagery that furthers his extended artistic engagement with bold aphorisms, allegories and political statements. Weaving thematics of recognition, with dynamics of transmission and pivotal references from his own practice, these works appropriate centuries-old pirate flags and images of the sea, emblazoning them across newspaper-lined canvases.

Symbols, for Tiravanija, derive strength from their capacity to communicate concepts and messages across boundaries cultural, linguistic and temporal, and gain intrigue as their connotations, over time, are distanced from their sources. This process - the susceptibility of images to undergo transformation, co-option or stasis as a factor of widened circulation - has become crucial for the artist, who throughout his body of work considers how de- and recontextualization of ideas casts them in entirely new lights or, under certain conditions, preserves them. Here, Tiravanija centers his focus on a selection of pirate flags flown throughout the 18th century, each of which employ the now-universally recognizable skull-and-crossbones pictogram initially used as a tool of identification and intimidation. Since, the pairing has come to evoke a diverse cross-section of at-odds connotations, at once a marker of danger, kept intact from its inception, and one that conjures the romantic separatism of historic piracy as proliferated through media. Seemingly resting on their corners, the large-scale works emulate flags draped from masts, their tilt implying movement while their rigidity situates them firmly within a painterly context.

Accompanying these works are further canvases embodying the sea's uncertain expanse and all that it connotes - a two-part composition picturing the circular silhouetting of binoculars, and a suite of 27 portrayals of graphically rendered waves. In coating each of the exhibition's canvases with issues of the New York Times, and in turn using these as sites for applications of thick, tar-like lacquer, Tiravanija continues his practice of deploying newspapers as a pictorial ground. The veritable flood of information that the spreads present stands in decided opposition to the artist's pared-down, highly legible motifs, giving rise to the union of disparate modes of exchange, while the fusion of temporal contexts speaks directly to the cyclical nature of chronology - a circuit within which narratives cross, overlap, grow from one another and diverge at will.

Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961) is the focus of the upcoming survey DAS GLÜCK IST NICHT IMMER LUSTIG (HAPPINESS IS NOT ALWAYS FUN) at Gropius Bau, Berlin this September. He has been the subject of international solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York (2023); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2019); Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam (2016); Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2015); Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld (2010); Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2009); Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris (2005); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2005); Serpentine Gallery, London (2005); and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2004), among others. His work has been included in biennials and triennials including La Biennale di Venezia (2015, 2003, 1999, 1993); Sharjah Biennial (2015, 2007); Gwangju Biennale (2012); Yokohama Triennale (2008, 2001); Biennale d'art contemporain de Lyon (2007, 2005, 1995); Bienal de São Paulo (2006); Istanbul Biennial (2001); Biennale of Sydney (1998); Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (1998); and Manifesta, Rotterdam (1996). Tiravanija lives and works in Chiang Mai, Berlin and New York.

This content has been machine translated.


neugerriemschneider, christinenstraße 18-19 Christinenstraße 18-19 10119 Berlin

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