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This Work (8 hour durational performance, 2016)

This Work (8 hour durational performance, 2016)

i am NOT tino sehgal, Nahmad Projects, 2016



"Nahmad Projects, in collaboration with renowned curator Francesco Bonami, presents I am NOT tino sehgal, running from 10 June to 20 July. The inaugural show brings together 30 performance artists aged between 20 and 35. Over the course of the show, each will deliver a daily performance that responds in some way to the German artist Tino Sehgal, a veteran in the field." - Nahmad Projects press release

In This Work the artist, dressed in the classic black uniform of the gallery invigilator, sits in the empty gallery silently reading James Joyce’s Ulysses for the duration of the day. The invigilator/artist remains completely absorbed. The invigilator/artist remains static. If a gallery visitor disturbs them, they respond in an irritated manner. The visitor is predominantly ignored; never engaged. In stark contrast to performers in Sehgal’s situations (and in opposition to gallery front of house standards), social interaction is discouraged. The invigilator/artist is the opposite of vigilant. By doing the work of the gallery invigilator poorly the invigilator/artist becomes the work – their absence becomes presence. Their role is not to be vigilant, but to be visible.

Susan Sontag describes Ulysses not as a book about characters, but about media of transpersonal exchange, about all that lies outside individual psychology and
personal need. Ulysses is a book set over one day. What Samuel Beckett has said of Joyce’s writing is equally true of Sehgal’s practice; “Here form is content, content is form… his writing is not about something; it is that something itself.' My aim is to further reflect this in my installation – the reader is not reading to read but to be observed reading. 

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