Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961) is a Thai artist living and working between Berlin, New York, Mexico and Chiang Mai in Thailand. Since early nineties Tiravanija has been a key figure in the transformation of contemporary art into more ephemeral, event-based practices. Tiravanija is known for creating social spaces for people to activate – often involving or referencing cooking – placing focus on what kind of activity happens in the space around and in between objects, images and constructions. In addition to his widely recognized exhibition practice, Tiravanija is on the faculty of The School of the Arts at Columbia University and was among the establishers of an educational-ecological project called The Land Foundation in Chiang-Mai, Thailand.
Antto Melasniemi (b. 1975), based in Turku and Berlin, works as the creative director in various food-related projects and manages numerous acclaimed restaurants in Helsinki. By hosting temporary pop-up spaces and events around the world, his culinary work often finds ways to expand into cross-disciplinary collaborative situations that combine performative arts and cooking. Together Melasniemi and Tiravanija have organized cooking collaborations in multiple art fairs and events as well as released a cookbook named Bastard Brothers (published by Garret Publications and Finnish Cultural Institute in New York) that challenge the nationalistic culinary traditions by merging recipes and ingredients in an incongruous manner.
For Helsinki Biennial, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Antto Melasniemi in collaboration with Artek will create an installation and a one-week event in the HAM Corner space on the ground floor of Tennispalatsi. Mushrooms and their rhizome-like existence will play a key part in this project. Tiravanija’s concept for the space will go on to function as an open lounge and event place for HAM after the event week and even the biennial itself.
Photo: Janne Tuunanen for Bastard Cookbook