The following is a selected list of the artist’s works with short descriptions:
- 2000 Instead of allowing something to rise up to your face dancing bruce and dan and other things
An interpreter writhing on the gallery floor.
- 2001 This is good
“… gallery guards singing … thrashing their arms about in circles while jumping from leg to leg.” (Bishop, 2005)
- 2002 This is propaganda
“… a brief, ghostly recording by an unidentified woman singing “this is propaganda, you know, you know” (from a pop song); the recording is triggered whenever someone passes by an unmarked spot in the room.” (Gabri, 2003)
- 2003 This is right
“… interpretations of [Sehgal’s] own back catalogue – by two children … and by his Belgian gallerist …” (Bishop, 2005)
- 2003 Le Plein
An empty gallery. When a visitor enters the space the attendant steps out of the office and says “Ceçi n’est pas le vide.” (“This is not the void” – a reference to Yves Klein’s Le Vide)
- 2004 This exhibition
“… a woman collapses for no apparent reason, lolls about on the floor and then stands up and says calmly: ‘Tino Sehgal. This exhibition. 2004. Courtesy the artist.’” (Frenzhel, 2005)
- 2004 This is competition
At an art fair, two of Sehgal’s representing galleries have stalls next to each other. The staff on each stand are only allowed to say alternate words in sentences with their partners on the other stand supplying the remaining words.
- 2004/5 This objective of that object
First of three annual shows at London’s ICA. A group of interpreters approach the visitor and who must attempt to initiate a discussion with them about the artwork.
- 2006 This progress
The middle show of the trilogy at the ICA. A series of conversations with progressively ageing interpreters, coupled with a tour of the gallery spaces.
- 2007 This Success or This Failure
The last of the three ICA shows. “… a group of schoolchildren … spend each day playing without the aid of objects.” (Coburn, 2007)
- (unexecuted) Alteration to a Suburban Household
“… a couple agree to mirror—or rather invert—each other’s habitual roles and mannerisms whenever receiving a guest.” (Bishop, 2005)
The theatrical nature of Sehgal’s works make their relations with their audience a primary concern, creating the problematics that the works address, which depend to a large extent on the identity of the audience involved.
The problematics can broadly be categorised as follows:
- The pieces’ status as an art ‘object’;
- their nature as objects to be considered;
- the process of production involved in their existence.
To address these, one must be more specific to whom the works are addressed at any one time. These audiences can also be broadly categorised:
- the general art-going public
- the participant in the piece in question
- the writer/reviewer of the piece in question
It can be said that the works do not have any ‘life’ outside of an audience. They rely on reception to initiate them and interaction to ‘make’ them – but the precise nature of that ‘make’ is defined by the particular audience being addressed.
In terms of problematics, I’ll here focus on the object-status of the pieces, the formation of their audiences and the activity of writing about them.