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Exhibition: Past In & OutFeb 19–Mar 23, 1996


In & Out is a collaborative project between Rirkrit Tiravanija, the Resource Center, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Art and Design. This is not an exhibition of finished work in the usual sense, but rather a cycle of ongoing activity in which the gallery functions as a locus of exchange for an unpredictable variety and quantity of materials. On opening night, the gallery will contain only empty bins. Throughout the project, a simultaneous process of the filling and emptying of the bins is carried out by the community, who are invited both to contribute materials of any type and also remove any materials of which they could make use.

The project transforms the idea of “viewer” into participant by inviting members of the community (not solely the art community or University community) to bring objects and materials of any sort to the gallery to deposit in the bins. In this way, discarded, forgotten, or formerly “useless” things are brought out of hiding and into the gallery. Placing objects in the bins constitutes an invitation to subsequent viewers to take the objects if they wish. The project’s creators feel that there is an important and simple message in the act of transformation, which occurs when useless surplus can be made to fill a need for another person in another place. With active participation by the audience, the gallery becomes a model of engagement in a cycle of (re)distribution, (re)production, and (re)consumption.

The physical objective is to create a cycle: the gallery starts out empty, and returns to this state at the end of the project. The conceptual objective is to stimulate a current of exchange and interaction between an art community and the larger community in which it exists.


Rirkrit Tiravanija


This exhibition is made possible by the School of Art and Design, the College of Architecture and the Arts; and supported in part by grants from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the Nathan Manilow Foundation.