Untitled (THE STATE OF THINGS)
bamboo, paper, cord, glue, wood, rattan and Turkish rug
edition 1/5 + 1 AP + 1 EP + 1 PP
kite A: 240 × 170 cm, kite B: 88 × 77 cm
Inv. No. 0280abcde
In Untitled (THE STATE OF THINGS), Rirkrit Tiravanija creates a symbolic representation of sky and ground via an arrangement of traditional cultural artifacts. Two traditional Thai kites lean against the wall: the larger representing the “male,” the smaller the “female.” The placement of these objects in a fixed, upright position injects them with an anthropomorphic stance, a gesture towards their use in royal contests in which two opposing teams try to force each other’s kite to the ground. Through this simulated rivalry, the kites represent a state of floating; their position is simultaneously one of freedom and yet also one of free-fall.
In her text In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective, Hito Steyerl comments how the present moment is distinguished by a prevailing condition of groundlessness. “We cannot assume any stable ground on which to base metaphysical claims or foundational myths. At best, we are faced with temporary, contingent, and partial attempts at grounding.” Tiravanijaʼs installation acts a metaphor for this postmodern state of groundlessness; the rug on the floor not only symbolizes the world that lies below, but also creates a paradoxical tension between the concurrent sensations of floating and falling, the illusion of freedom and the entrapment of cultural tradition.
Hans Ulrich Obrist, 2015 (translation: Virginia Dellenbaugh)Continue reading
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