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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

TRAGIC EVENT OVERSHADOWS TATE MODERN OPENING



Tragic event overshadows Tate Modern opening
Tino Sehgal's storytelling takes centre stage in vast Turbine Hall                                      

By Gareth Harris. Web only
Published online: 26 July 2012

Snorkeling off the Italian island of Elba; a mother’s tears as her son departs for university; the trauma behind erasing a tattoo: these are some of the tales told by participants in Tino Sehgal’s commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in London. These Associations, (until 28 October), the first “live” work in the vast space, consists solely of encounters between around 70 storytellers and visitors to the gallery.

Sehgal’s team strike up disconcerting, affecting conversations with visitors, interspersing these intimacies with manic movements choreographed by the Berlin-based artist; the storytellers start running in a frenzied circular fashion in pursuit of an invisible quarry, play tag and chant: “Even in the technological age.”

Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern, says that Sehgal has transformed the museum into a "biopolitical and anarchic experience”. Hans Ulrich Obrist, the co-director of London’s Serpentine Gallery and director of its international projects, calls it a complete work of art: “It’s a masterpiece; [Sehgal] brings all the elements of his previous works together in one piece, combining choreography conversations and music. It is a Gesamtkunstwerk.”

But not everyone is impressed. The critic Alastair Sooke wrote in the Daily Telegraph that he experienced: “A whiff of artifice about their stories, which feel polished and rehearsed. Sehgal does not hit the spontaneous social interaction that he strives for.” The participants are not actors although they are paid, working four-hour shifts.


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