South likes: Tino Sehgal at the Roman Agora, Athens

4. êύΘ‰δΓψ ÄöΠ®α

South likes: Tino Sehgal at the Roman Agora, Athens
NEON Paths
NEON, Roman Agora, Athens, Greece
25 September – 28 October

Text by Klea Charitou

Tino Sehgal accepts NEON Foundation’s invitation and comes to Greece, where, focusing on the ephemeral and dematerialisation of art object, he pushes once again the artistic disciplines’ boundaries and creates art that has no physical form in a significant place, the Roman Agora of Athens. Sehgal was the youngest artist representing Germany at the Venice Biennale, won the Golden Lion and has exhibited his work at the world’s most prestigious contemporary art events and museums (Guggenheim New York, Tate Modern, Museum Ludwig, dOCUMENTA 13 Kassel, ICA London, Kunsthaus Zürich, among others).
The English-German artist’s latest show takes place in and around the ruins of the roman forum that was used as a hub for trading and meeting. Here he realised his first interactive piece outdoor, encapsulating two of the main features of his work: the dialectic element—in the sense of Socratic techniques of exposing and investigating eternal ideas—and a critic to art’s commercialism in our commodified society. Tino Sehgal describes his pieces made by the human voices, bodily movements, gestures and social interaction of his trained “interpreters” as “constructed situations”, which not only refuse to add objects to a society that is overly overburdened with them, but provoke as well the traditional art values. This time, away from the museum and the gallery context in an ancient marketplace with strong connotations, his constructed choreographies reconsider the cultural conventions and summon thoughtful and instinctive responses. The audience participates in a lived experience rather than being a spectator of material objects or attending an art event: entering the door and drawing closer to the marbles a young girl approaches and asks with hearty enthusiasm which is the definition of progress. Without being aware of it, the journey has already begun and we become participants in a peripatetic philosophical conversation. Answering and posing questions, repeating and taking suggestions from four different “interpreters”—a child, a teenager, an adult and an elderly—we engage in a dialogue that is not freely improvised but more moving within a framework constructed by the artist. A dialogue that surprises us reflecting a glimpse of our intimate life, like the marbles mirror our course and we perform an introspection. Little by little, while wondering surrounded by classical heritage like our ancestors used to do, the notion of progress is broadened out, touching upon spatio-temporal, cultural, philosophical, moral, economical and other facets. The political awakening seems to concern Tino Sehgal’s work, in which he attempts to explore social system and its processes, economic reality, allocation of roles, and sustainability,  even more than his predecessors conceptualists of the late 60s.
The individual responsibility should become collective, an aim that is shared as well by NEON Foundation which through its activities and exhibitions succeeds to bring contemporary culture closer to everyone, to create new conversations and a larger, informed society around the arts.
In the second part of the show, the audience has the chance to experience and get lost in a version of «This variation» that was previously presented at dOCUMENTA 13. All the senses, even sight at the end, are intensified by entering in a dark room, in which an orchestrated electrified performance takes place and we drift into singing, dancing, talking, clapping, laughing and buzzing.
Tino Sehgal and his collaborator Asad Raza—in charge with the production and direction of the show—have selected to work with human mind, the most uncontrollable milieu, rather than solid materials and to produce communication and no matter if we have the answers or not it ‘s sufficient to surrender ourselves to be exposed for some minutes.

3. Tino Sehgal _ êύΘ‰δΓψ ÄöΠ®α

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