Born in Buenos Aires in 1961 and living most of his life in New York, Tiravanija is of Thai origin and in his early works he often used the skills he learned from his grand-mother, a cook. His work - preparing Thai meals for gallery visitors - in a sense became a low-key interactive performances including all involved to socially engage in everyday tasks. His installations often take the form of stages or rooms for sharing meals, cooking, reading, playing music or even living and they can be seen as open-ended social experiments in which the artist as much as the public is testing the borders of the work. Rirkrit Tiravanija is in a subtle way contesting and questioning the structure of the institution while at the same time working within it. Architecture or structures for living and socializing are a core element in his work, which forms the sculptural structures he exhibits.
Tiravanija has exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum. Tiravanija`s artwork explores the social role of the artist. His work is said to be typical of contemporary expression emerging in the mid-1990s sometimes referred to as "relational aesthetics", a term invented by French art critic Nicolas Bourriaud, or simply "social art". Tiravanija`s art is indeed highly social and often dependent on the visitors input to function and come alive.