Tino Sehgal pushes the boundaries of art with his “constructed situations”. One of these situations, or more precisely, “This Situation”, is touring Goethe Institutes in Romania, Serbia, Turkey, Georgia and India from October 2011 onwards. The journey will be almost entirely over land and it will be the first time that one of Tino Sehgal’s works will be displayed in India, the country of his father. The tour will culminate in a solo exhibition at the Tate Modern in London in July 2012 sponsored by the Goethe Institute.
About Tino Sehgal
Sehgal who studied dance and economics, rejects the creation of material objects, but nevertheless creates works of art that are exhibited in museums, galleries and art exhibitions. They can even be bought. In place of objects made for posterity, his works consist of ephemeral gestures, conversations, songs. For instance, at the German Pavilion during the 51at Venice Biennale, three uniformed museum guards danced around visitors as they entered crying, “Oh, this is so contemporary, contemporary, contemporary". This ‘intangible’ work of art gave the Berlin-based artist his international breakthrough. The work, when viewed together with his oeuvre, can be construed as a critical economic and ecological analysis of our times.
By using minimal resources in his productions, Sehgal questions the material-intensive production processes of the Western hemisphere and proposes responsible alternatives. The material embodiments of art–catalogues, photographs, films–are wholly absent in Tino Sehgal’s work, even at the secondary level.
His works exist solely through oral transmission and in the memory of those who have seen them.
About 'This Situation'
How is 'discourse' a work of art?
With “This Situation” Tino Sehgal declared "discourse itself to be a work of art". Not any discourse, of course, but a conversation that follows fixed rules and can flow in different directions. When he created it in 2007, Sehgal called "This Situation" a "discursive coming-out", a kind of playful salon and a painting of the history of our time.
In New York one year later, his work was acclaimed by the art critic Jerry Saltz.
Example of 'This Situation' from the viewer's perspective
The visitor is confronted by a group of six people dressed in ordinary clothes, deep in a discussion on philosophical issues. Interpreters, as Sehgal calls them. As soon as the visitor enters the room, he is greeted with the words, “Welcome to this situation!”. The players subsequently change their positions with slow movements and quote a hypothesis from 450 years of intellectual history without naming the author. The intellectually inclined visitor might identify a few authors; the one well-versed in art history may perceive allusions to famous masterpieces, like Manet's "Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe". Other visitors have the option of participating in the discourse, and in fact, from time to time, the interpreters directly invite them to.
Many of the quotations used to initiate the discussion reflect the transition from a society of scarcity to one of plenty, or the possibilities of exerting a formative influence on oneself or in one's relationships with others. Or they revolve around the term “situation”. Depending on the specific conditions (that is 'the' situation) – and this is precisely what the work shows – each situation constantly constitutes itself afresh. Every visitor sees, hears and experiences a different work of art in "This Situation".
This and other works by Tino Sehgal have been displayed in almost all major exhibition venues in North America and Western Europe, but only rarely in Southeast Europe and never in India, where Tino Sehgal's father is originally from. Reason therefore, for “This Situation" to head there.