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things are a problem

February 1, 2010

[NYTimes] If you’ve ever wanted to see the interior of the Guggenheim Museum in its pristine state, now’s the time. For the solo show of the young European artist Tino Sehgal, the great spiraling rotunda, recently ablaze with Kandinskys, has been cleared out. There isn’t a painting in sight. Yet the space isn’t empty. On the rotunda’s ground floor, a man and woman entwine in a changing, slow-motion amorous embrace. On the ramps above, people walk and talk in pairs or clusters at a leisurely pace, with new participants periodically joining conversations as others drop away.

Mr. Sehgal’s art is made up almost entirely of such balletic tableaus and social encounters. His work has features of theater and dance — he trained as a dancer — but is made for museums, galleries and art fairs, places that depend for their existence on a proliferation of valuable things.

Things are a problem for Mr. Sehgal, who lives in Berlin and studied political economy before he studied dance. He thinks the world has too many of them, that production is ceaseless and technology destructive. His art is a response to these perceived realities as they play out microcosmically in the context of the art industry. His goal is to create a counter-model: to make something (a situation) from virtually nothing (actions, words) and then let that something disappear, leaving no potentially marketable physical trace. (read)

Tino Sehgal
Guggenheim Museum, NYC
January 29-March 10

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