Related themes

Maps, Borders, and Networks

Artists use maps to tell stories about themselves and their views of the world.

Untitled 2008-2011 (the map of the land of feeling) I

Rirkrit Tiravanija
(Thai, born Argentina 1961)

2011. Scroll with digital printing, lithography, chine collé and screenprint, sheet (approx.): 36 x 334 1/2" (91.4 x 849.6 cm)

The son of a diplomat, Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija was born in Argentina, grew up in Bangkok, Thailand; Ethiopia; and Canada, and he now splits his time between New York, Berlin, and Chiang Mai, Thailand. The three scrolls in Untitled 2008–2011 (land of the map of feeling) I–III—each measuring 3 feet tall and approximately 28 feet wide—serve as a record and a reflection of his travels.

At the center of each scroll is a digital print of one of the three passports he has held as an adult, complete with visas and stamps indicating the countries he has entered and left. Overlapping and filling the space around these passports are motifs printed using three different techniques: lithography, chine collé, and screenprint. Many of these elements allude to maps, such as plans of cities he visited and lines indicating time zones. Other images refer to artists who have inspired him. For example, a silhouette of Marcel Broodthaers’ sculpture of mussels in a casserole relates to Tiravanija’s cooking performances, in which he creates a meal for people to eat together, often in a gallery space.

A three-dimensional work of art made by a variety of means, including carving wood, chiseling stone, casting or welding metal, molding clay or wax, or assembling materials.

A printmaking technique that transfers an image to a lightweight paper that is bonded to a heavier surface.

A printing technique in which areas of a silkscreen, comprised of woven mesh stretched on a frame, are selectively blocked off with a non-permeable material (typically a photo-emulsion, paper, or plastic film) to form a stencil, which is a negative of the image to be printed. Ink is forced through the mesh onto the printing surface with a squeegee, creating a positive image.

A printmaking technique based on the repulsion of oil and water, in which an oily substance is applied to a stone or other medium to transfer ink to a paper surface.

A form of art, developed in the late 1950s, which involves the creation of an enveloping aesthetic or sensory experience in a particular environment, often inviting active engagement or immersion by the spectator.

Working Together
Central to Tiravanija’s work, which usually takes the form of installations and performances, is collaboration. This work—his first experiment in printmaking—was no different: It took three years and over 40 collaborators, including master printers and students at Columbia University, to produce.


AUDIO: Listen to Tiravanija talk about this work

VIDEO: Watch a video of one of Tiravanija’s cooking installations.