Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Rirkrit Tiravanija - Free

In 1992 Rirkrit Tiravanija staged his seminal work Untitled 1992 (Free), a performative and interactive installation in the office of the 303 Gallery Soho New York.  Challenging the function of the gallery and the boundaries between viewer and audience Tiravanija emptied the space and installed a makeshift kitchen and apartment.

Open 24 hours a day, people lived, ate, slept, partied and had sex in the gallery, this simple anti-commercial gesture embodied an idealistic lifestyle of contemporary bohemian life. The interaction and action of the audience was the art. What has now been labeled as Relational Aesthetics, Tiravanija was at the forefront of dissolving the boundaries between art and life and challenged the establishment in which it was housed.
As well as eating and socializing the gallery-goers also saw the back offices of the gallery, packed with stored artwork its commercial intentions were revealed. The chaotic yet practical performance of his work is seemingly incompatible with the clean ordered gallery space, and this agitation of the gallery space is often bewildering to the audience. However the over all generosity of space and food is a great emblem of freedom and a life outside of capitalism.