Movement, Style, School or Type of Art:
Constructed Situations; Conceptual Art; Appropriation Art
Date and Place of Birth:
1976, London England
Son of a retired IBM manager from India and a German mother, Tino Sehgal hails from India's well-know Sehgal family (performers, journalists and other celebrities). He was born in London and raised in Dusseldorf, Paris and a small town outside of Stuttgart. He speaks English with his father and German with his mother.
He studied dance and political economy in Berlin and Essen, and came to art almost by accident. In Berlin, Sehgal met the experimental choreographer Xavier Le Roy and avant-garde dance artist Jérôme Bel, who opened up his mind to alternative ideas in dance and art.
In 1999, Sehgal worked with the dance collective Les Ballets C. de la B.in in Ghent, Belgium, and developed a piece entitled Twenty Minutes for the Twentieth Century, a series of movements performed in twenty different dance styles, from Njinsky to Balanchine to Merce Cunningham, and so forth. The piece last 55 minutes as the artist performed completely naked on an empty stage lit by a single light.
When Sehgal danced Twenty Minutes at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the curator Jens Hoffman told the artist, "... it was like a museum of dance." From that point on, Sehgal knew his path. His specific art idiom is called "constructed situations," art works without any material forms aside from humans, time and space.
In 2000, his work Instead of Allowing Some Thing to Rise Up to Your Face Dancing Bruce and Dan and Other Things appropriated conceptual pieces by Bruce Nauman and Dan Graham. The Kiss (2002) followed suit by fluently appropriating, one after the other, the different amorous poses in Auguste Rodin's The Kiss (1889), Constantin Brancusi's The Kiss (1908), Gustave Klimt's The Kiss (1907-08), Jeff Koons and La Cicciolina's Made in Heaven (1990-91) and various Gustave Courbet paintings from the 1860s. This work was performed at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum from January 29 to March 12, 2010 and required 2 hour and 40 minutes shifts per couple.
This Progress (2006, owned by the Museum of Modern Art, New York), performed alongside The Kiss at the Guggenheim, requires that four "interpreters" converse with a visitor, one conversation at a time as the visitor and interpreter walk together through the exhibition space. The piece begins with the youngest interpreter and ends with the oldest interpreter.
California College of the Arts' Wattis Institute offers a permanent exhibition of Sehgal pieces in the Logan Galleries on the San Francisco campus. They began in September 2007. These pieces are free and open to the public.
All works of art must not be documented with photographs, catalogues, films, or other material evidence. The works are sold in an elaborate transaction that requires witnesses and lawyers. No paper document is exchanged. Sehgal's works command five and six figure prices.
Sehgal represented Germany in the 2005 Venice Biennale and was nominated for a Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum in 2006. In 2004, he received the Baloise Art Prize at Art Basel, Switzerland and in 2003, He received the Kunstpries (art prize) der Böttcherstrasse in Bremen, Germany.
The artist resides in Berlin. His partner is art historian Dorothea von Hantelmann.
- Allowing Some Things to Rise Up to Your Face Dancing Bruce and Dan and Other Things (2000)
- This is Good (2001)
- The Kiss (2002)
- This Progress (2006)
- This Situation (2007)
Sources and Further Reading:
Lubow, Arthur. "Making Art Out of an Encounter," The New York Times Magazine, January 17, 2010.
DeSantis, Alicia. "At the Guggenheim, The Art Walked Beside You, Asking Questions," The New York Times, March 12, 2010.
Press Release, California College of Art Wattis Institute, June 15, 2007.
Marion Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris.