Just say it – in his feature film "CHEW THE FAT“, 2008, Rirkrit Tiravanija meets up with twelve international artists of his own generation. He takes a stroll in the Californian desert with Andrea Zittel; in Berlin he visits Angela Bulloch, as well as the recently arrived Douglas Gordon. He relaxes with Elizabeth Peyton on her porch on Long Island, NY, before hooking up with Jorge Pardo in his spacious Los Angeles studio. Upping the pace of what begins like a roadmovie, he checks e-mails in New York with Liam Gillick, receives a visit in Thailand from Pierre Huyghe, and inspects Carsten Höller's birdcage in Stockholm. Then he enjoys a glass of wine in Paris with Philippe Parreno, and saunters along the Seine with Dominique Gonzales-Förster. Finally, with Tobias Rehberger, he rides a train across Germany. The only absence is Maurizio Cattalan, who is nonetheless present in everyone else's memories.
If this sounds varied and entertaining, that is exactly what it is. But the relaxed mood of these meetings in locations chosen by the artists themselves also makes for pleasantly focused yet far-reaching conversations. Tiravanija begins each talk by asking the artist to tell him about his or her motivation and art education. What happens next is left to chance: the topics covered in "Chew the fat“ range from the Football World Championships to current art projects; from street cleaning in Paris to structural changes in artists' working conditions since the 1990s. High and low, life and art are intentionally yet casually intermingled; participants discuss the value of art as a commodity and as entertainment; again and again the materialness of art objects is eclipsed by discussions of key temporal and spatial relations. While each one of the twelve conversations is unique, they share one aspect: playfully yet searchingly they adress reflections and ideas that have made art so fascinating since the 1990s.
Rirkrit Tiravanija made "Chew the fat“ in the context of twelve individual artist portraits created over the past several years. A must-see!
© Translation from German, Oct. 2008: Margret Powell-Joss