Much of our social interactions are lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We see, hear, speak, bump into, and pass one another more times than we can count, but these moments often go unnoticed in the grand scheme of things. British-German artist Tino Sehgal takes these moments, de-contextualizes and manipulates them, and reveals something quite profound in the process with his works that transgress the boundaries between art, performance, and life. Winner of the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 2013 Venice Biennale, Sehgal has gained widespread acclaim for his practice and this summer, he will have his first major solo exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin.
Using social interaction as his predominant medium, Sehgal “creates art that has no physical form”. Using voice, dance, movement, and public space, the artist sets up “constructed situations” that are at once calculated and spontaneous, buyable/sellable and intangible, conforming to the conventional gallery model and yet entirely out of its traditional bounds. Past works have included ‘This Is So Contemporary’ (2013), in which uniformed museum guards dance around an empty room and repeatedly sing “This is so contemporary, contemporary, contemporary”; Rodin-inspired live project ‘Kiss’, which involves various couples kissing throughout the floors and halls of museums; and ‘These Associations’, where museum goers witnessed crowds of people rhythmically shuffling throughout the main hall of the Tate Modern.
Sehgal’s show at Martin-Gropius-Bau will consist of a “mise-en-scène” of 5 different works on the ground floor of the exhibition hall, as well as an accompanying work, titled ‘This Progress’, which will take place at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele from June 25th to July 5th as part of the international performing arts festival, Foreign Affairs. Visitors can see ‘This Progress’ from 5-9pm each evening of the festival and tickets can be bought on-site at the Berliner Festspiele box office.
Blog entry by Nora Kovacs in Berlin; Thursday, Jun. 18, 2015.