OCAD launches Professional Gallery and new residency program with Rirkrit Tiravanija

The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) is pleased to welcome internationally acclaimed artist Rirkrit Tiravanija as its first artist in residence of its new program Nomadic Residents.

Rirkrit Tiravanija, who graduated from OCAD in 1984, will take up residency in April 2007 with the opening of a major solo exhibition, his first in Canada. During his residency, Tiravanija will participate in workshops with students, and present a public lecture. The exhibition, which opens Thursday, April 5 with a reception from 5:00pm to 9:00pm and which runs throughout the summer, will be held in OCAD’s Professional Gallery, a new space dedicated to exhibiting work by nationally and internationally significant contemporary artists and designers.

Tiravanija is described by Guggenheim Museum Curator Joan Young as an artist who explores a new aesthetic paradigm of interactivity through contemporary art. His extraordinary and unconventional practice ranges from traditional art forms like drawing, painting and photography to site-specific installations which invite audiences to experience everyday activities such as cooking and serving food, or to “living” within re-creations of Tiravanija’s own apartment. He encompasses many innovations in his works such as creating radio plays and building power-generating systems, to demonstrate how viewers can become active media contributors and not simply passive consumers.

Born in Buenos Aires to Thai diplomats, Tiravanija was raised in Bangkok and Ethiopia. As an artist, he maintains a truly global art practice, with a studio in New York’s East Village, a flat in Berlin, and a loft in Bangkok. Tiravanija exemplifies what New Yorker art critic Calvin Tomkins has termed “a new breed of nomadic, post-studio artist.” At 19, Tiravanija came to Canada. He graduated from OCAD’s Experimental Arts program in 1984, and later studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Whitney Independent Study Program (New York City). In 2004, Tiravanija won the Hugo Boss Prize, one of the world’s most recognized accolades for contemporary art. His recent solo exhibitions include 1301PE Gallery (Los Angeles), Le Musee d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris/ARC at the Couvent des Cordeliers (Paris), Serpentine Gallery (London, UK), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Museum Bojmans Van Beuningen, (Rotterdam), and Ikon Gallery (Birmingham). In addition to teaching at Columbia University in New York, he recently participated in the 27a. Bienal de So Paulo and is currently Artistic Director of the major international contemporary art exhibition and cultural initiative “Saigon Open City” in Vietnam.

“Tiravanija’s practice is a perfect metaphor for the Professional Gallery’s intentions,” explained Charles Reeve, OCAD Curator. “He invites viewers to become active participants, thus fully animating the work.” OCAD’s Professional Gallery invites the community in to experience regional, national and international perspectives through art and design exhibitions, book launches, film screenings, performances, symposia, and more. “A key goal of the OCAD Professional Gallery is to be a leader in bringing art and design together, facilitating this kind of openness.”

Nomadic Residents aims to inspire and influence the OCAD community by featuring artists from around the world whose work questions issues such as travel, mobility, displacement, dislocation, and homelessness, as well as the speed or instability of modern life. In bringing innovative and diverse artists to take up temporary residence at OCAD, Nomadic Residents will join here to there, the local to the global and the provisional and the permanent. In September 2007, the Professional Gallery presents award-winning designer Karim Rashid.

For more information, please visit www.ocad.ca.