“Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel”

Tino Sehgal, artist of the ephemeral

Powerful body language, flirtation with immateriality… Tino Sehgal has exercised a complex creative practice for twenty years or so. His “constructed situations”, at the Palais de Tokyo until 18 December, raise one crucial question: what if the artist reinvented the meeting between the work and the spectator? Iconoclastic in how he shows and circulates his work, Tino Sehgal places a focus on artistic language that overturns the archetype of contemporary production. Existing purely over the time of a choreography, a sketch, sometimes a movement, the work of this forty-something from London who lives in Berlin reveals a resolutely dematerialised perception of art. Art which he challenges by elusiveness, raised in the paroxysm of performance; but also art which he sets apart from a standardised art market. For Tino Sehgal transmits his works with “no written set of instructions, no bill of sale (purchases are conducted orally, in the presence of a notary), no catalogue, […] no pictures” (source: New York Times, 25/11/2007). This omnipresent immateriality is matched by an obviously ephemeral dimension, which has managed to seduce the greatest institutions. In 2005, he was the youngest artist to represent Germany at the Venice Biennale. Two years later, he carried out his first in situ museum performance across the Atlantic, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago with Kiss: the artist used two dancers to cite the poses in famous artworks, from Klimt to Jeff Koons, via Brancusi. Ever since, he has multiplied solo shows all over Europe — in London, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Porto… — and his artistic concept has not ceased to surprise spectators. Activating the memory Grasping the works of Tino Sehgal is firstly a matter of activating one’s memory in order to catch hold of them. Founded on a space-time prism corresponding to the time of...

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