The South Asian Life & Times - SALT   
  Spring 2014          



Spring 2014

 Editor's Note

 Arctic to Antarctic
 - Overland

  Great Himalaya Trail 

India Art Fair 2014

 Nirav Modi 

 Magic of Sorcars

 Tino Sehgal

  Nina Davuluri

 Ravindra Salve

 Threatened Tribes

 Tribal Victories 2013

 - Dongria Kondh

 - Jarawas

 - Soliga

 Indian Painting


 And the Mountains

 A God in Every Stone

 Beloved Strangers

 I Am Malala 





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Tino Sehgal – Dematerialising Art

Photograph courtesy: Andrew Dunkley, Tate Photography

 “I'm not against material things – I just don't work with them."

The 37-year-old, born to a Punjabi Indian father and a German mother, came this close to winning the 2013 Turner prize. Many expected Tino Sehgal to win.

Sehgal, a Conceptualist, creates art that does not require any material. He does not believe in burdening society with additional objects in the name of art. He does believe that the overproduction of material things is the cause of “bad ecology, bad economics and bad values.” Nor does he allow his work to be photographed. There are no accompanying catalogues or press releases. He works only with human clay – real human beings creating living sculpture. “His work crystallizes and disperses again, so there is no trace left at all… His work resides in the time and space it occupies; in the bodies and voices of the performers; in memory and its reception.” His work is formed of people, not of metal or stone.

Sehgal’s art is made up almost entirely of social encounters. Over a decade long career, Sehgal has produced silent and sculptural works - like “Kiss”- and also “constructed situations” – like “This Situation” and “This is Exchange”– where visitors often interact with the models in the act. His work has elements of theatre and dance, though Sehgal insists his work is art, not theatre - a performance is for a short duration, whereas a Sehgal work is on display as long as the venue is open. Tino Sehgal packed the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern with storytellers in 2012.

Sehgal sells his works (that is, the right to perform them) as editions - at prices between $85,000 and $145,000. His work is owned by a number of museums. Tate bought ‘This is Propaganda’ in 2005. The Museum of Modern Art NY bought “Kiss” in 2008 in a transaction that, according to the museum’s director, was “one of the most elaborate and difficult acquisitions we have ever made.” Guggenheim bought one of four available editions of ‘This Progress’ in 2010. There are few private collectors.

The sale of a Sehgal piece is conducted orally – there is no written contract, only a witness. The buyer has the right to install it any number of times but under Sehgal’s supervision. The buyer, however, is not allowed any documentation.

He has had solo shows since his mid-20s and is a regular on the international biennial circuit.

Sehgal was born in London and raised primarily in Dusseldorf and Paris.  He did not train as an artist - instead he studied dance and political economy, in Berlin and Essen.

Jens Hoffman, the former curator of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, who discovered Sehgal as a dancer in the Nineties, says “He doesn’t want to be famous, he doesn’t want to make money… I think Tino’s real goal is to be known as someone who has changed the course of art, or maybe something beyond that….There is only one artist in a generation like him.”



Read the entire article in the print edition of The South Asian Life & Times



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