Annet Dekker: Enduring Liveness: An Imaginary Retrospective of Tino Sehgal’s Constructed Situations (2018)
Filed under artists publishing | Tags: · art documentation, performance, performance art
“The key functions of a museum are the collection, presentation, preservation and education of cultural and artworks for the enjoyment of, and to educate, the public. Performance art has been notoriously difficult for museums to handle, despite the ‘easy’ presentation the non-materiality of the art form challenges the conventional methods and practices of a museum. Artist Tino Sehgal had added to these problems, persisting in having no documentation of his performances, or better his ‘constructed situations’, in whatever form or way. While several books and some catalogues are written about his work, none of them show visual representations of the actual performances.
While I sympathize with Sehgal’s aims and ideas, I’m also intrigued by the numerous ways in which documentation developed and expanded in the last two decades with more and more photos and videos appearing online. In this catalogue three perspectives are presented that open up the potential of documentation as a method to generate new articulations and ways of understanding, thinking and performing. Countering the “no photos allowed” from the press statements of the museums, with the documentation used by online news outlets and those created by visitors, the experience of being present at the performance can no longer be considered as a fixed or even final perspective. Instead the constructed situations continue to act through viewing, capturing and circulation. Navigating the various documents that are created idiosyncratically according to access (having a camera and an Internet connection) or choice (having the willingness or courage to take an image and change the rules), the Imaginary Retrospective of Tino Sehgal adds to what theatre and performance scholar Sarah Bay-Cheng beautifully describes as “a multi-valent experience that is shaped and constructed by the individual experiences, choices, and negotiations of all parties within a connected network of information, sensations, and varying access points” (2012). At the same time, it might open up a desire for new performance to emerge.”
Produced for Monoskop’s Exhibition Library in the 2018 Seoul Mediacity Biennale, 6 September–18 November 2018 at the Seoul Museum of Art.
Self-published in collaboration with Monoskop, Amsterdam, August 2018
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