Berlin based artist, Tino Seghal has been putting on solo shows since his mid-20s (he is now 37) and has become a fixture on the international Biennial circuit. His work is cross-disciplinary, physical and choreographic often described as “living sculptures”, “live art” and (by Seghal himself) as “constructed situations”.
Seghal studied political economy and dance, an intriguing combination that to this day guides his work. In reaction to our obsession with objects and their acquisition, Seghal explores ways to create something outside the usual cycle of production and consumption. His focus is therefore on creating experiences.
His pieces are made of balletic tableaus and social encounters; they have features of theatre and dance but are designed for museums and art fairs, places that rely on a proliferation of valuable things. By staging his situations in galleries, Sehgal relishes the unique opportunity to challenge the institutional worship of objects: “The museum is this place where objects are given amazing value, and it seemed interesting to go into this place and not do that” says Seghal.
Seghal’s works test the limits of artistic material and audience perception in a new and significant way. Although the site of display remains the same as in traditional art (a gallery space), his works seek a different kind of appreciation and way to engage. They are aimed at affecting our lives on a deeper level instead of being just (if at all) aesthetically pleasing.
Once the exhibition is over, Seghal’s pieces leave no physical trace and remain a mystery to those who have not directly experienced them. Seghal does not allow his works to be photographed, filmed, or documented in any way so all that is left is our remembrance of them. “I think it’s a cliché of our times that everything has to be accessed at any moment,” says Seghal. “My thing is a live thing and you really experience it when you see it live.” For those of you wondering, this is why there is no information about This is so Contemporary on the Gallery’s website.