National Gallery Singapore collaborates with internationally renowned artist Rirkrit Tiravanija to present his largest bamboo maze installation at its Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden from 24 January 2018 to 28 October 2018.
Named untitled 2018 (the infinite dimensions of smallness), the immersive installation which stands at a four meters high, draws its inspiration from materials, craftwork and architecture from Asia. Visitors are invited to navigate through the bamboo maze as they go in search of the wooden teahouse located at its centre and along the way, encounter and interact with each other at the same time. This deceivingly simple concept continues Rirkrit’s artistic focus on participatory works that blur the distance between art and its audiences, while leveraging his strength and inclination towards the gesture of hospitality.
Mr Low Sze Wee, Director (Curatorial, Collectors and Education) of National Gallery Singapore, said “untitled 2018 is a testament of the Gallery’s mission to bridge the connection between art and the public, and cultivate an art-loving community. In working together with Rirkrit Tiravanija - one of the most important and influential contemporary artists of our time, who is richly informed by his own history and experience of Southeast Asia - we aim to present art made accessible through its social setting, while building a deeper understanding and appreciation of both the Southeast Asian region and its stories that connect us with each other. The installation is also an extension of the Gallery’s ongoing showcase of Rirkrit’s work in the UOB Southeast Asia Gallery.”
This is Rirkrit’s second major solo project in Singapore. Having lived in various countries, his works reflect the constant negotiation between diverse cultures as he constructs communal environments that draw audiences to be part of his work. For example, one of his most iconic works in 1992, Untitled (Free) transformed spaces in museums and galleries worldwide into a place of communion where he served rice and Thai curry to visitors, thereby creating temporary but meaningful bonds between him and his audience.
Complementing the installation is a diverse range of interdisciplinary public programmes including tea ceremonies by Japanese performance artist Mai Ueda, monthly tea ceremonies, Rirkrit Day with a colloquium, screening of the documentary on the making of the installation, and various performances. The Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Commission series invites one leading international artist each year to explore Southeast Asia’s rich cultural heritage and complex histories from a contemporary perspective. The first commission was by Vietnamese-born Danh Vo (2016– 2017). The Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Gallery is made possible through a gift by Far East Organization.
Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961, Buenos Aires, Argentina) lives and works in New York, Berlin, and Chiang Mai. Since the late 1980s, his practice has focused on social engagement through the construction of communal environments that invite viewers to interact with each other and the work. He has held numerous solo exhibitions internationally, including at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2005), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2012), Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2015) and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2016). He was awarded the Hugo Boss Prize in 2004.