This situation

Nov 18, 2013, 2:00 pm4:00 pm
Lewis Center for the Arts - 185 Nassau Street (Room 301)


Event Description

This situation will be open from 2 pm to 6 pm, Monday, November 18 to Wednesday, November 20; 12 pm to 4 pm on Thursday, November 21; and 12 pm to 6 pm on Friday, November 22. No tickets or reservations are necessary. You can stay as long as you like and visit as often as you like.

This situation is akin to a contemporary salon. Drawing from quotations selected by Sehgal from 500 years of thought, players discuss among themselves and with the visitors such issues as the aesthetics of existence and the implications of moving from a society of lack to one of abundance. Since its New York premier at the Marian Goodman Gallery in 2007, This situation has been produced in galleries and museums around the world. Its week at Princeton will be the first time that it has taken place in an academic setting, and this new setting will test the relationship between the discourses of the university, and the emergent conversations that are the substance of Sehgal’s work. The week will also include a symposium that will gather visiting scholars and critics, together with some of the interpreters in the piece, to reflect with Asad Raza—Sehgal’s collaborator, who will be installing the piece at Princeton—on what it means to locate the conversation of This situation in the heart of a university. All are invited, and particularly encouraged to visit This situation on one of the previous afternoons.

Art and School: A Symposium will be held on Thursday, November 21, at 4:30 PM in Betts Auditorium in the School of Architecture.

Tino Sehgal, who was born in Britain in 1976 and lives in Berlin, creates what he calls “constructed situations,” choreographed gestures and spoken instructions that are acted out by “players” and “interpreters” in museum and gallery contexts. Explicitly not performances, they are ordinarily on view continuously during a museum’s opening hours over a period of at least six  weeks. The conceptual nature of his practice grows out of an investigation into what constitutes a work of art and a crystallization of the art experience, which for Sehgal entails a direct engagement, in the here and now, between visitors and players in carefully choreographed situations. The visitor is conceived as a fundamental part of the work and may, if he/ she chooses to participate, dramatically alter its unfolding.

The immateriality of Sehgal’s work stems from an antipathy to the object and a political conviction about the excessive proliferation of goods in Western society. He ordinarily locates it  specifically within a museum context which he considers a microcosm of our economic reality. (The translation of This situation to a university represents an important experiment.) Sehgal, whose training is in dance and political economics, places economics at the heart of his practice: “My big question, which I think is the question of my generation, is that the way we produce nowadays, the social form of economic organization, is not going to be able to persist, and we are going to be measured against the question of how we are able to adjust to that.”

In keeping with Sehgal’s strict opposition to manufacturing objects, the process of acquiring one of his works ordinarily consists in a purely oral transaction involving the artist or one of his representatives, the director, curators and registrar of the museum, and a lawyer. The conditions of acquisition and installation are recited and committed to memory by all present, the price is discussed and when both parties are in agreement, there is a handshake. No paper documentation accompanies the acquisition. Conditions of presentation include the remuneration of all players and a strict refusal of video or photographic documentation, printed press releases, catalogues, labels or didactic panels.

Tino Sehgal’s most recent pieces are This variation, which was presented at Documenta (13) in Kassel, Germany this past summer, and These associations, in which seventy players filled the immense Turbine Hall of Tate Modern in London. He has had major solo exhibitions at  the Guggenheim Museum in New York, ICA in London and Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and represented Germany at the 2005 Venice Biennale; at the 2013 Biennale, he won the Golden Lion for the best artist in the International Exhibition The Encyclopedic Palace.