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Press Release

kurimanzutto presents the first solo show in Mexico of the Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija: Palm Pavilion, an installation created for the 27th Sao Paulo Bienal ‘How to Live Together’ (2006).

In 1949, the French architect Jean Prouvé (1901-1984) was commissioned to design a type of housing for the bureaucrats and traders traveling to the African colonies, who suffered from the high temperatures of their new hometowns. Prouvé designed the Tropical House, a small portable building, constructed with steel panels (produced in France). These panels could be exported and assembled easily and fast in different types of terrain. The building is suspended over a base, a few centimetres above from the ground in order to control the absorption of humidity and heath. The sliding doors permit the circulation of air and make the space more flexible. A central chimney expels the hot air produced inside the house, and the exterior is composed of several metallic blind-like structures that reflect the sunrays instead of absorbing them.

The prototype of the Tropical House was first installed in 1951 at Brazzaville, Congo, and it remained there until 1999. Although the building is a skilful sample of both design and architecture, its modest appearance and dimensions did not satisfy the ambitions of the French population that sought to develop another life and nation in Africa.

A replica of this tropical house functions as both sign and structure, whereby the artist has placed within it a number of city-palm species, a garden table, in which a puzzle has been placed atop for the public to piece together, and a series of videos. One of these videos documents a nuclear test, taken in a South Pacific island at the precise moment of detonation. Later in the film, a fix shot of a group of palms filmed frontally shows the the incandescent disintegration provoked by the nuclear blast. Another video streams a series of images depicting palms as cultural referents, from scientific illustrations to dollar bills to stamps, all different in origin, date and aesthetic. The palm now becomes icon, sign, and referent in the same way the eagle became a museological symbol in Marcel Broodthaers Musée d'Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles.

In Rirkrit Tiravanija’s work the reconstruction of rooms or architectonic elements designed by modernist authors is constantly employed as a principle to examine systems of coexistence. In these systems the video, the music, and the food are precursors that both favour and serve to catalyze human exchange and interaction. These architectonic replicas – sometimes affected by the use of dominant materials such as reflective metals – always have a story of displacement, migration, and nomadism embedded within them. With these stories Tiravanija refers our historical moment characterized for the aspiration or obligation to be ‘citizens of the world’, constantly trying to grasp the multiplicity of identities we come across, or that come to cross us.

Parallel to the opening of the exhibition, some passages of the novel The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll from the Colombian author Alvaro Mutis, will be read (in Spanish) by the writer Pablo Soler Frost. The fictitious character of Maqroll is a lone sailor who has traveled across too many ports to remember. Maqroll has now forgotten his nationality, his relatives, and the reason why he decided to venture to the sea. Set against a backdrop of ‘tropical noir’ The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll’s protagonist is a character in constant transit, a character that faithfully represents the nomadic narrative that Tiravanija deals with within this work.

Rirkrit Tiravanija (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1961)

His main exhibitions are: Foster, You’ re Dead, Galleria Emi Fontana, Milan, Italy (2008); Philippe Parreno & Rirkrit Tiravanija, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York, USA and Chantal Crousel, Paris, France (2008); Retrospective, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK and Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, France (2006); Retrospective, Museum Bojmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2004); Social Pudding, 1301PE, Los Angeles, USA (2004); Untitled 2002 (he promised), Secession, Viena, Austria (2002); Untitled 1998 (Das Soziale Capital), Migros Museum, Zürich, Switzerland (1998); Untitled 1996 (Rehearsal Studio No. 6), Kunsthalle St. Gallen, Switzerland (1996); Untitled 1996 (Tomorrow’s Another Day), Kolnischer Kunstverein, Koln, Germany (1996). He has participated in various group shows such as: Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah; Lyon Bienniale, France (2007); The Exotic Journey Ends, Foksal Gallery Foundation & kurimanzutto, Warsaw, Poland (2006); Emergency Biennale in Chechnya, Riga, Lettland (2006); Sao Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2006); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA (2006); Universal Experience, Hayward Gallery, London, MCA Chicago, USA (2006); International 04, Liverpool Biennial, UK (2004); Elephant Juice (Sexo entre amigos), kurimanzutto, Xochimilco, Mexico (2003); Cities on the Move, CAPC Bordeaux, France, ICA, London, UK (1997). He received the 2005 Hugo Boss Price awarded by the Guggenheim Museum. Tiravanija is also president of an educational-ecological project known as the Land Foundation, located in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Pablo Soler Frost (Mexico City, 1965)

He has published the novels Legión (1991), La mano derecha (1993), Malebolge (2001), Edén (2003), 1767 (2004) y Yerba americana (2008), as well as a number of books of short stories, poetry, theatre, and essay. He has being an invited lecturer in Mexico, USA, Japan, and Australia. He wrote the script of the film 40 días directed by Juan Carlos Martín, which is currently shown.

Alvaro Mutis (Bogota, Colombia, 1923)

He is one of the greatest authors in contemporary Hispano-American literature. Among his wide literary work there could be mentioned the books of short stories Diario de Lecumberri (1960), La mansión de Araucaíma, (1973) y La muerte del estratega (1990); the novels from Maqroll’s saga: La nieve del Almirante (1986), Ilona llega con la lluvia (1988), Un bel morir (1989), La última escala del Tramp Steamer (1988), Amirbar (1990), Abdul Bashur, soñador de navíos (1990) y Tríptico de mar y tierra (1993). His poetry has been compiled in the anthology Summa de Maqroll el Gaviero. 1984-1997 (1997). Throughout his whole career he has received many literary awards such as the National Award of Literature (Colombia, 1974), National Award of Poetry (Colombia, 1983), Xavier Villaurrutia Award (Mexico, 1988), Prix Médicis Étranger (France, 1989), Príncipe de Asturias Literary Award (Spain, 1997), and Cervantes Literary Award (Spain, 2001).

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails