The Berlin-based artist Tino Sehgal wants to reconsider production, both artistically and economically, by creating immaterial and more sustainable forms of generating meaning and beauty. The solo exhibition
will be on view at the Walker Art Center December 12, 2007–March 23, 2008.
One of the leading artists of his generation, Sehgal has been making art without actually creating any objects. His working method often involves instructing people—adults, teenagers, and children—to use their bodies and voices to construct situations in which they interact with spectators and their surroundings. Insisting that his installations share time and space with the public, he presents them inside museums rather than theater stages to incite viewer’s response, improvisation, and possibly participation. His stance on spectators as an active and engaged counterpart has infused his work with a distinctive sense of humor, wit, and political undertone. As the artist has stated, “There’s no possibility not to act. So everything you do, even if it doesn’t seem like acting, produces an effect.”
Resorting to an economy of actions, Sehgal’s work proposes a dynamic take on the idea of the expanded concept of art, arguing for a process of production that revolves around the spectator and his or her individual exchanges and the embodiments of movements and language presented by his interpreters. Immediacy takes the forefront in Sehgal’s artistic program. He requests that his installations are not be photographed or recorded in a gesture that reconsiders the value of time, contemplation, and participation.
The exhibition Tino Sehgal, the artist’s largest U.S. museum show to date, features five continuous “live” pieces that require the employment of some 50 individuals, including Walker staff members, local artists, amateur singers, and practicing dancers living in the Twin Cities who serve as interpreters. The works—Instead of allowing some thing to rise up to your face dancing bruce and dan and other things (2000), This is good (2001), This is propaganda (2002), This is new (2003), and This is about (2003)—are presented in selected galleries and public spaces throughout the building, starting at the lobby desk and including guided tours of the collection.
Tino Sehgal was born in 1976 in London and currently lives in Berlin. After studying political economics and dance, he began presenting his work in museums and galleries, including Tate Britain and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Palais de Tokyo and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Kunsthaus Bregenz, and Kunstverein Hamburg, Germany; Fundação Serralves, Porto; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm. He was nominated for the prestigious Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, and was one of two artists representing Germany at the 2005 Venice Biennale.
Tino Sehgal is organized by Walker assistant curator Yasmil Raymond, in close collaboration with the artist.