edition 2012

Rirkrit Tiravanija

born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1961, lives and works in New York, Bangkok, and Berlin

The Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija is widely recognized as one of the most influential artists of his generation. His practice combines traditional object making, public and private performances, teaching, and other forms of public service and social action. His installations often 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.
Since the 1990s, Tiravanija has aligned his artistic production with an ethic of social engagement, often inviting viewers to inhabit and activate his work. In one of his best-known series, begun with pad thai (1990) at the Paula Allen Gallery in New York, Tiravanija rejected traditional art objects altogether and instead cooked and served food for exhibition visitors. Over the following years, the artist ignored the prescribed division between art and life, constructing communal environments that offer a playful alternative venue for quotidian activities.
He has exhibited widely, including solo shows at Kunsthalle Basel, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. For the 50th International Venice Biennale (2003), he co-curated Utopia Station, which has since traveled to several venues. Winner of the 2004 Hugo Boss Prize awarded by the Guggenheim Museum. Tiravanija is a Professor at the School of the Arts at Columbia University.

What do contemporary people need art for?
People need art to be contemporary, to understand the condition and context they are living in.

Why do you create art?
To make people conscious of their existence and that they are living with others.

Photo by: Michael Muller, Courtesy of: Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

Peter Liversidge

born in Lincoln, UK in 1973, lives and works in London

Peter Liversidge’s work begins with the conceptually-based practice of creating proposals for performances and artworks across a wide expanse of mediums. Liversidge types these proposals on an old manual typewriter; the proposals describe ideas from the practical to the purely hypothetical, ranging from “I propose to paint the wall that the proposals are hung on a dark grey” to “I propose to dam the Thames and flood the City of London.” The artist’s active engagement with each space and community for which he creates proposals is at the center of his varied and dynamic practice. Liversidge has worked with a diverse range of institutions, including the Tate Gallery in 2008, the Centre d’art Santa Mònica (Barcelona) in 2008, Bloomberg SPACE, London 2009 and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 2010. He has also developed projects for the Europalia Festival in 2007, Art Basel Miami in 2009 and Edinburgh’s sculpture park, Jupiter Artland, also in 2009.

What do contemporary people need art for?
To invite them to think in different ways.

Why do YOU create art?
To help me think in different ways.

Anatol Knotek

born in 1977 in Vienna, Austria, lives and works in Vienna, Austria

Anatol Knotek is an Austrian artist and visual poet. Beside painting, visual and concreto poetry, installation and conceptual art are at the center of his artistic work. By focusing on phrases, single words or pure letterform, he reduces the elements of communication to the barest possible essence, stripping away the noise between the audience and the message.
One of the most important elements of his art is his ability to convey a little bit of humor, so that even while addressing serious issues, he manages to create the perfect combination of lighthearted and provocative thought.
His work has been presented internationally in group- and solo- exhibitions and has been published in journals, newspapers, schoolbooks and anthologies. He is a member of the “Austrian Art Association”.

What do contemporary people need art for?
For me, an artist creates something that is new to him, his current insight into or a struggle with a certain subject, his point of view… So art could be seen as a kind of communication with a slightly different vocabulary. Following this thought, people could “need” art as much as a good conversation with a friend. This could result in understanding or a feeling of being understood, inspiration or joy.

Why do YOU create art?
For my own development and if everything works out as I imagined, for a smile – a simple silent smile in the spectators faces.

Egor Kraft

born in 1986 in St. Petersburg, Russia, lives and works in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Vienna

His artistic research is based on European & American conceptual art, minimalistic art, Russian avant-garde. He is also interested in contemporary video art and media activism as expressive practices, and in French philosophy, media theory as a theoretical basis (of his art). He is also interested in pop-culture, its semiotic analysis and deconstruction as an artistic strategy. He cares for the visual language and aesthetics in the epoch of a total оverproduction of images. He believes that his goal is to search and work out a new aesthetics and new visual language, drawing, in particular from the process of deconstruction and reconsideration of settled forms. And finally the most important issue for him remains the existential questions and the philosophical discourse on the order & chaos. He has exhibited in Gerlesborg / Sweden, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Amsterdam, Sydney.

What do contemporary people need art for?
I consider art as one of the forms of communication. Human beings need to communicative by nature. Then why not explore the communication itself as deep as we can.

Why do YOU create art?
Simply because I have a huge impulse and desire to communicate.

Photo by Hank Willis Thomas

Christine Wong Yap

born in 1977 in California, USA, lives and works in New York, USA

Christine Wong Yap is an interdisciplinary artist working in installations, sculptures, multiples, and works on paper to explore optimism and pessimism. Her work examines the paradox that mundane materials or situations can give rise to irrational expectations, emotions, and experiences. Major touchstones are language, light and dark, and psychology. She uses straightforward techniques, references to visual culture, and common materials. Influenced by conceptual strategies, phenomenology, and psychology, her output is experimental and idiosyncratic, yet shares economical means and candid appearances. Her work has recently been exhibited at Untitled Gallery (Manchester, UK) at Project Space Leeds (Leeds, UK); Steven Wolf Fine Arts (San Francisco, USA); and Jenkins Johnson Gallery (New York, USA). In 2011, she was the recipient of a Travel and Study Grant from the Jerome Foundation. Born in California, Yap holds a BFA and MFA from the California College of the Arts. A longtime resident of Oakland, CA, she relocated to New York, NY in 2010.

What do contemporary people need art for?
With viewers’ attention, art objects are vessels from which aesthetic experiences arise. As such, they can mediate relationships that transcend time and space. Moreover, looking at art objects builds and hones perceptual and intellectual skills, as well as offers an opportunity for flow experiences.

Why do YOU create art?
Satisfaction, flow, and social engagement are components of happiness and subjective wellbeing. I gain satisfaction from my art practice – it lends purpose and meaning to my life and activities. I find flow in the process of conceptualizing and making art. I engage with other people, ideas, materials, and forms via aesthetic experiences and dialogues.

Susan O’Malley

born in 1976 in Mountain View, California, USA, lives and works in San Francisco Bay Area, USA

In her socially-based projects, Susan O’Malley uses simple and recognizable tools of engagement – offering Pep Talks, asking for advice from strangers, installing roomfuls of inspirational posters, distributing flyers in neighborhood mailboxes, conducting doodle competitions at high schools – in order to offer entry points into the understood, and sometimes humorous, interactions of everyday life. Interested in shifting these otherwise mundane exchanges into heightened experiences, O’Malley’s projects rely on the back-and-forth between herself and others in the creation of the artwork. Ultimately O’Malley’s projects aspire to incite hope, optimism and a sense of interconnectedness in our lives.
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, O’Malley received her MFA from California College of the Arts’ Social Practice Area. As both an artist and curator, she has participated in programs and exhibitions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area as well as internationally in Denmark and Poland.

What do contemporary people need art for?
We need art in our contemporary lives because it is a reflection of our world. Art can shift how we see and think about the everything around us, whether this means seeing the beauty and connectedness of the everyday or being awakened to injustice in our world.

Why do YOU create art?
Making art gives me courage to be vulnerable – talk to strangers, put myself in awkward situations, meet new people etc. It is a practice of possibility and discovery – while I may not have the answers,
I can make connections, ask questions and actively create something.

Alicia Eggert

born in 1981 in New Jersey, USA, lives and works in Portland, Maine, USA

Eggert is an interdisciplinary artist whose work commonly takes the form of kinetic, interactive, and time-based sculpture. She often uses language and time as sculptural materials. The inventor Charles Babbage once said, “Machines have been taught arithmetic instead of poetry.” The artist tries in a way, to teach machines poetry. She teaches them to stop making sense. Like found objects, written language appeals to her desire to provide her audience with a very basic level of accessibility. The words and phrases that intrigue her most are found in our everyday vocabulary, simple words that have many definitions and thereby allow for multiple layers of meaning. If such a word or phrase is constructed in three dimensions, it can be broken down into its most fundamental parts, and assembled and disassembled over time or as a result of viewer interaction. Because her art practice is driven by concept as opposed to process, her most successful work is made in collaboration. Collaborating with other artists allows Eggert to share the experience, the excitement, the responsibility and the success with another person. The final product is essentially also a collaboration, this time between the artists and the audience. In the end, the work belongs to viewer as much as it does to her. Eggert’s work has been shown at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan, SIGGRAPH Asia in Hong Kong, the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, and at institutions in Canada, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, St. Louis, Buffalo, and elsewhere. Later this year, her work will be featured in the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA2012) at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, and at the 16th Annual Sculpture by the Sea in Sydney, Australia. The artist currently resides in Portland, Maine, and is an Assistant Professor of Art at Bowdoin College.

What do contemporary people need art for?
People need art for the same reasons they need religion. They need it to shine a new light on their everyday reality, to allow them to see the world from a different perspective, to encourage them to reconsider their priorities, and, most importantly, to inspire wonder and ask questions that are ultimately unanswerable.

Why do YOU create art?
For me, making art means testing the limits of possibility, to give material form to otherwise intangible ideas. I think of an idea, I wonder if it is possible, I work with others towards solving the problem, and I bring something into existence that would otherwise not exist. By allowing myself to wonder in this way, I hope to encourage others to do the same.

Galeria Rusz (Joanna Górska and Rafał Góralski)

Both born in 1973, live and work in Toruń, Poland

Galeria Rusz is an art group based in Toruń, established by the two artists: Joanna Górska and Rafal Góralski. Their main interest is the creation and presentation of art in public space. Since 1999, they’ve run their own billboard gallery at Szosa Chełmińska 37 in Toruń, called ‘Galeria Rusz’, which is the world’s longest ever existing project displaying art on the same billboard and in the same location. Górska and Góralski create billboard posters, paintings, murals, undertake artistic interventions and public art actions. The artists have so far created over 200 artistic billboards. Their work is concerned both with the private, individual sphere of life (which might be, in a simplified manner, called a psychological sphere) and with the external, collective sphere (which might be, in a simplified manner, called a social sphere). This division is rather symbolic and blurry – it is to underline the fact that through their work they try to describe the complex situation of the human being, who is both an individual and a member of a larger community, with all the dependencies stemming from this fact. Their works provide a new frame for certain fragments of reality, a frame allowing for new interpretations. They encourage the viewer to frame their perception of certain phenomena in a new way, to play with the frames providing context for the interpretation of a given phenomenon.
Artists from Galeria Rusz have received numerous awards, they have also been granted artistic scholarships, such as the prestigious “Młoda Polska” Ministry of Culture and National Heritage Scholarship in 2009. In 2007, they were nominated for the “Spojrzenia 2007” Deutsche Bank Foundation Award. They have participated in various exhibitions in Poland and abroad, including “Take a look at me now” exhibitions at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich as a part of Polska! Year in Great Britain in 2009.

What do contemporary people need art for?
Art can provide a deeper understanding of ourselves and of other people. It can be a journey into a deeper level of reality. Contemporary people badly need such a journey in order to communicate with their own selves and with the external world.

Why do you create art?
Because we want to MOVE ourselves and other people.