Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tino Sehgal – "This Immanence"

In thinking about Nicolas Bourriaud's "Relational Aesthetics" an artist by the name of Tino Sehgal comes to mind. Tino is currently showing an exhibit called "This Progress" (along with "Kiss") at the Guggenheim in New York. While I am no art historian (nor do i know very much about the contemporary art world), I do know that Tino is particularly apt when discussing the transitory, the interactive, the relational, and the immaterial within the traditional museum and gallery space. Tino's goal with his pieces is to "free art from the material of overproduction." [1] It is for this reason that his pieces are all immaterial and in fact he himself, even in his business dealings, does not deal in the material (accept for receiving the money of course). He does not actually frabicate any tangible thing, but that does not stop his pieces from being sold- in fact the MOMA owns "The kiss" (they own the performance, they own the event). [2] The kiss is a choreographed make-out session of sorts that lasts the entire time frame that the museum is open and the couple often pause for moments to reinact poses from famous scenes throughout the history of art.

"This progress" on the other hand is a much less condensed piece and, as explicated in the New York Times article below [2] leaves you with no formal conclusions or answers of any sort- simply relations (?). I should point out that I have not actually been to the exhibit- I saw "The Kiss" from outside and I couldn't bring myself to spend 18$ to go in or to wait in line for 45 minutes in order to get in for free (what this demonstrates I am not sure). I have, on the other hand, had several conversations with a person who is an "interpreter" in the piece and as she explained it to me- the piece is about conversation and communication (mildly choreographed discussions and relationships). Essentially, upon entering the exhibit you are greeted by a child and from then on you are greeted by other "interpreters" all discussing things along the topic of "progress." Most importantly, THERE IS NOTHING ON THE WALLS. The museum is striped of it's material art and what is left are these transitory, fleeting, and wholly immaterial dialogues.

Much more could be said of Tino's work but suffice it to say that his goal of "administrating cultural values, and the real politics would be to work on those cultural values and to bring up new ideas of how things could be done." [1] has much in common with the kind of "relational aesthetics" discussed by Bourriaud- "[...] creating and staging devices of existence including working methods and ways of being, instead of concrete objects which hitherto bounded the realm of art, they use time as a material. The form holds sway over the thing, and movements over categories. The production of gestures wins out over the production of things." (p. 103) [3] And this is what you get (and pay for) with Tino Sehal- "Staged Situations" [1] and gesture (but what else is there?).

(p.s. I am not sure what is up with the end of the video...)

Vanessa Meyer


[1] Anne Midgette. you can't hold it But you can own it.

[2] Holland Cotter. in the naked museum: talking, thinking, encountering.

[3] Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics (Paris: Les Presses du réel, 2002)


  1. would somebody PLEASE have the guts to call bullshit on the current art mind?

  2. I am kinda calling bullshit...kinda...

  3. This f***ing bullshit is just such a pile of horsecrap, the guy loves ephemerality and detests the over-materialism of the art world but boy are those dollars real and I'm sure they stay on his bank account, has anybody ever read "The Emperor's New Clothes"? this is pure and simple daylight robbery, art world snobbery and a conceptual wanker taking the museums (and the public) for a ride - don't forget the vaseline!