Rirkrit Tiravanija, ‘untitled 2016 (day for night)’, 2016, San Francisco Cinematheque: Benefit Auction 2016

untitled 2016 (day for night) is a combination of two film-still portraits juxtaposing Thai rice farmer Lung Neaw (Uncle Neaw) and Swedish artist Karl Holmqvist, both subjects of recent feature length films by Tiravanija.

In Lung Neaw Visits His Neighbours (2011), the artist follows a day in the life of a retired rice farmer in Northern Thailand as he spends his time fishing, hunting, foraging for herbs and chatting with friends. In Karl’s Perfect Day (in production, release 2017), Tiravanija blurs the boundaries of documentary and fiction by asking Holmqvist, known for his text-based artworks, poetry and performances, to imagine and act out his perfect day in Berlin, a day that seemingly looks any other day in the life of a person.

The relationship between social and theatrical role has been a formative theme of Tiravanija's work since the early 90s, what interests him is not the art in itself, but the life that unfolds around and out of it. His filmic work is an extension of this theme and shows how Tiravanija blurs the boundaries between life and art.

Both Lung Neaw's and Karl Holmqvist's days are filmed as examples of a single life. Lung Neaw Visits His Neighbors as a meditation on life and time and the relationship between real time, narrative time and narrated time, and Karl's Perfect Day as a filmic experiment which establishes ties between visual art and film, fiction and reality. The questions raised by the undertaking are highly relevant, not only with respect to the self-definitions of the two art forms, but also in terms of the existence of each individual in society.

About Rirkrit Tiravanija

Using human interaction as his primary material, Rirkrit Tiravanija goes beyond performance to create socially-engaged conceptual works that blur the boundaries of art in novel ways and bridge the division between public and private. Whether by offering visitors free curry in Untitled (Free) (1992) or inviting strangers to drop by and drink tea together in a replica of the artist’s home in Apartment 21 (Tomorrow Can Shut Up and Go Away) (2002), Tiravanija initiates ways to enable the public to be a part of the art-making process, what has been called relational aesthetics. Part social experiment, part ecological program, The Land (1999-) consists of an area of arable land in Thailand that Tiravanija and others transformed into a communally run site for participants to pursue artistic, agricultural, and social collaboration. He won a Hugo Boss Prize in 2004.

Thai, b. 1961, Buenos Aires, Argentina, based in New York City, Berlin, Chiang Mai