Tomorrow is the Question
June 4–26, 2016
A co-production of Holland Festival and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija (1961) creates art that explores human social interaction. In Tomorrow is the Question, he will set up a series of stainless steel ping pong tables and invite the public to participate in his work. Tiravanija has staged exhibitions at venues throughout the world. Tomorrow is the Question (2015)—previously presented in Moscow, Arles, France, and elsewhere—marks the artist's debut in Amsterdam. Tiravanija is seen as one of the most influential multimedia artists of his generation.
With his installation on the Museumplein, Tiravanija blurs the line between art and life. The work playfully confronts traditional ways of viewing art in classic Tiravanija style, as well as the etiquette that goes with it. As an alternative, the artist offers a more theatrical and social—and more enjoyable—experience. Tiravanija sees art as something artist and viewer create together, a process where people can be social beings, preferably outside the rarified realm of the gallery space. "It is not what you see that is important, but what takes place between people," says Tiravanija.
The social interaction that Tiravanija pursues with this project has different historical references, from the ping pong matches organized at a gallery in Bratislava as a way of communicating by Slovakian artist Július Koller in the 1970s, to the Ping Pong Diplomacy of the United States during the Cold War period. In 1971, the US organized a ping pong tournament between American and Chinese players, under the motto "Friendship First, Competition Second."
The work is accessible to everyone and free of charge. Ping pong paddles and balls can be borrowed from a distribution point on Museumplein.