SPACE is proud to raise artist Rirkrit Tiravanija’s flag, Untitled 2017 (fear eats the soul) (white flag) as part of Creative Time's Pledges of Allegiance project.
The message of Rirkrit Tiravanija’s flag is a reference to German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s film Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, the English translation of ‘Angst essen Seele auf’. The film first appeared in Tiravanija’s Untitled 1994 (Fear Eats the Soul), a bar he constructed at Esther Schipper’s storefront gallery in Cologne that served only beer and cola. Fassbinder’s two lead characters, a German cleaner and a Moroccan mechanic, meet in the film’s opening scene over the aforesaid drinks, and commence an unlikely relationship that brings out their own deepest fears as much as the xenophobia and racism of their surroundings.
Tiravanija’s flag is the twelfth installment of the series, which has grown from two to twenty-one partner locations since Creative Time initiated the project in June 2017. Creative Time has previously worked with Rirkrit Tiravanija on Living as Form, a large-scale survey exhibition that brought together twenty-five curators and featured over 100 artists’ projects at the historic Essex Street Market building.
Rirkrit Tiravanija was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1961 and grew up in Thailand, Ethiopia and Canada. His practice defies media-based description combining traditional object making, public and private performances, teaching, and other forms of public service and social action. Many of his most acclaimed installations take the form of stages or rooms for sharing meals, cooking, reading or playing music; architecture or structures for living and socializing are a core element in his work. As the artist himself asserts, “relational,” is an apt descriptor for much of his work, as his artistic production focuses on real-time experience and exchange, breaking down the barriers between the object and the spectator. Tiravanija received his BA from the Ontario College of art in 1984 and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986. He participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program, has been the focus of international museum exhibitions and has received numerous grants and awards, including the Absolut Art Award (2010); The Hugo Boss Prize (2004); The Lucelia Artist Award (2003); and the Gordon Matta Clark Foundation Award (1993), among others.
Pledges of Allegiance is a nationwide public art project by Creative Time. The project is a serialized commission of sixteen flags, each created by acclaimed contemporary artists: Tania Bruguera, Alex Da Corte, Jeremy Deller, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ann Hamilton, Robert Longo, Josephine Meckseper, Marilyn Minter, Vik Muniz, Jayson Musson, Ahmet Ögüt, Yoko Ono, Trevor Paglen, Pedro Reyes, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Nari Ward.
Each flag embodies art’s ability to channel political passion, providing a unifying symbol around which to unite, as well as a call-to-action for institutions nationwide to raise upcoming Pledges of Allegiance flags in solidarity with Creative Time. Pledges of Allegiance aims to inspire a sense of community among cultural institutions, beginning with an urgent articulation of the political demands of the moment. Each flag points to an issue the artist is passionate about or a cause they believe is worth fighting for, and speaks to how we might move forward collectively as a country. To inaugurate the project, Creative Time raised Marilyn Minter’s RESIST FLAG on the roof of its headquarters on Flag Day, June 14.
Pledges of Allegiance was originally conceived by Alix Browne and developed in collaboration with Cian Browne, Fabienne Stephan, and Opening Ceremony.
Tiravanija's flag will be on the flag pole at twenty-one cultural institutions and universities across sixteen states: California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Texas.