Tino Sehgal | This Situation : Experimenter – Hindustan Road

11 - 12 December 2011

Experimenter in collaboration with Goethe-Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan, Kolkata present acclaimed Berlin-based artist, Tino Sehgal’s - This Situation at Experimenter on the 11th & 12th December 2011.

Discourse as the key element recurs in “This Situation”, which Sehgal himself described as a kind of playful salon when he created the work in 2007. The visitor is confronted with a group of six people deep in a discussion on philosophical issues. 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. This sets off a new discussion in which the audience is also occasionally invited to participate. But it is not just authors who are quoted; poses are used from famous masterpieces of art, such as Manet's “Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe”. Thus Tino Sehgal invokes a medium that has been handed down in time and juxtaposes it with a constructed situation, “a painting of the history of our time,” as he himself once said. A painting that unfolds a journey from the past into the present through the discussion of the quotations.

The aesthetic proposal for a change in our way of life places Sehgal's oeuvre in the camp of the Situationists. The Situationists in the 1950s and 1960s, after all, wanted to achieve nothing less than total social transformation through systematic interventions. In "This Situation”, moreover, there are a conspicuously large number of Situationist quotes. And yet, the framing of the constructed situation in an exhibition space coupled with the discussions on the state of social situations–which are inherent to this work–initially exhibits the artificiality of that demand. At the same time Sehgal is exploring artistic possibilities of creating an effect that goes beyond the discourse on art. For him, that, precisely, is “the essence of this experiment”.

Tino Sehgal’s artworks are characterised by movement and encounters. The artist, who was born in London and lives in Berlin, forms situations into sculptures and exhibits persons in museums – foreign bodies among conventional art mediums. His international breakthrough came at the 2005 Venice Biennale, where the then 29-year old artist designed the German pavilion together with painter and sculptor Thomas Scheibitz. In 2010, Sehgal had a solo at the Guggenheim Museum NY. His work is in the permanent collections of the Tate Modern, MoMA amongst other leading institutions.