Rirkrit Tiravanija‘s fourth solo show at Galerie Chantal Crousel combines the artist’s interest in social architecture and the intersection between politics and everyday life into an installation entitled Asile Flottant (Floating Asylum). Tiravanija has re-created Le Corbusier‘s barge of the same name (1930), designed for the Salvation Army as a floating refuge for Parisian vagrants and prostitutes in the winter, and as a playground for children in the summertime. Le Corbusier conceived of the work as a model for a new social community for the underclass. Tiravanija’s re-creation of the barge was made by workers in Thailand and is on a half-scale proportion to the original, exploring the barge as a structure for living and socializing in a new context.
Inside the barge, Tiravanija has installed a collection of political T-shirts both designed and acquired by the artist. Touching upon a variety of topics, the T-shirts highlight “the ability of what we wear to act as a platform for interaction and communication, Tiravanija activates the T-shirt as political space.” The combination of the two elements literally within each other–Le Corbusier’s utopian barge effectively housing politically charged T-shirts worn by people from around the world, questions the level of political participation by the public.
Alongside the installation are drawings of news photographs depicting activists wearing political T-shirts made by Thai artists commissioned by Tiravanija, serving to extend the artist’s archive of political T-shirts in the public realm.
Tiravanija is of Thai descent, but was born in Buenos Aires in 1961 and was raised in Ethiopia, Thailand, and Canada, and educated in Chicago and New York. Because of his global upbringing, Tiravanija synthesizes multiple cultural viewpoints and customs with a focus on artmaking as a social interaction. The current exhibition is no exception, for the installation combines both the Thai constructed barge and the European utopianism of Le Corbusier, effectively emphasizing Tiravanija’s global background.
Exhibition Page [Galerie Chantal Crousel]