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Rirkrit Tiravanija

b. 1961, Argentina

untitled 2020 (nature morte: dodo bird, raphus cucullatus, 1662), 2023

CNC router cut aluminium sheet

50 x 50 x 1.5 cm

These engravings of the dodo bird and the Javan tiger are part of Rirkrit Tiravanjia’s untitled 2020 series, created and exhibited during his residency with the STPI Creative Gallery and Workshop in Singapore in 2023. The series comprises 20 aluminium plates, each engraved with an image and the year of extinction of an animal.

In line with Tiravanjia’s practice of creating participatory experiences, during the original exhibition, visitors could use these engravings to imprint the images of the extinct animals upon sheets of paper, assuming a vital role in the continued memorialisation and distribution of the artworks.

The interactions with visitors present a hopeful ideal of how continued awareness and activism will help reduce the alarming rate of species extinction happening worldwide. However, displayed on their own, these engravings become gravestones in a silent mausoleum, an ominous sign of what is to come if humanity persists without change.

Photo: Frederik Jacobovits

Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961, Argentina)

Rirkrit Tiravanija is a Thai contemporary artist, whose artistic practice can be surmised as being “about people”. His works span an eclectic range, from installations to sculptures to performance art, and he is most known for his participatory performance pieces where he cooks Thai food for visitors in art spaces, challenging established notions of the functions of art and space. Through this subversion of traditional museum etiquette, the viewer is engaged through the environment surrounding the work, developing organic relations with the artist and fellow viewers in the process.

Tiravanjia has been awarded the Hugo Boss Prize from Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (2004), and his works are globally exhibited in institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2023), the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. (2019), and National Gallery Singapore (2018).

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