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This situation by Tino Sehgal

The Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities and the Program in Visual Arts at Princeton will host This situation by Tino Sehgal on November 18 through 22 in Room 301 of the Lewis Center for the Arts at 185 Nassau Street. In the words of Sehgal, This situation is a “constructed situation” akin to a contemporary salon in which live interpreters, drawing on quotations selected from 500 years of thought, discuss among themselves and with visitors such issues as the aesthetics of existence and the implications of moving from a society of lack to a society of abundance. Art and School: A Symposium exploring This situation will be presented on November 21 at 4:30 p.m. in the Betts Auditorium in the School of Architecture.

Since its New York premiere at Marian Goodman Gallery in 2007, This situation has been produced in galleries and museums around the world. The work is held in the permanent collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris. The presentation at Princeton will be the first time that it has been staged in an academic setting. 

“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,” notes Joe Scanlan, Director of the Program in Visual Arts.

This situation belongs to a series of works Sehgal calls “constructed situations,” in which choreographed gestures and spoken instructions are acted out by players and interpreters in museums and galleries in lieu of conventional art objects. Explicitly not performances, Sehgal’s works are ordinarily on view continuously during a museum or gallery’s open hours over a period of six weeks or more. His practice grows out of an investigation into what constitutes a work of art and a crystallization of an art experience, which for Sehgal entails a direct engagement in a carefully constructed here and now. The visitor is conceived as a fundamental part of the work and may, if he or she chooses, dramatically alter the artwork’s unfolding.

This situation will be presented on November 18 through 20 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m., November 21 from noon to 4:00 p.m., and November 22 from noon to 6:00 p.m. The interpreters that are part of This situation will interact with one another and visitors to the space, making each visit unique. The event is free and no tickets or reservations are necessary.

The symposium on This situation will feature Asad Raza, Sehgal’s collaborator, who will install the piece at Princeton; visiting scholars and critics in the field of contemporary art; and some of the interpreters who are helping to realize This situation. The symposium is also free and open to the public.

The immateriality of Sehgal’s work stems from an antipathy to the art 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 economic reality. Thus, the translation of This situation to a university setting constitutes an important experiment. Sehgal, whose training is in dance and political economy, places economics at the heart of his practice. He has stated that, “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.”

Sehgal was born in Britain in 1976 and currently lives in Berlin. His recent works also include This variation, which was presented at Documenta (13) in Kassel, Germany, in 2012, 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, the ICA in London, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the German Pavilion of the 2005 Venice Biennale. This past summer he was awarded the Golden Lion as the best artist to participate in the international group exhibition of the 2013 Venice Biennale.

This situation is made possible at Princeton by a grant from the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project and the Lewis Center for the Arts. The School of Architecture at Princeton is a cosponsor of the symposium.

Related Information

Exhibitions ›
Sehgal Named Finalist for 2013 Turner Prize ›

Event Information


November 18, 19, 20, 2013
2:00 - 6:00 p.m. 
November 21, 2013
12:00 - 4:00 p.m.
November 22, 2013
12:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Room 301
Lewis Center for the Arts
at 185 Nassau Street


Art and School: A Symposium

November 21, 2013
4:30 p.m.

Betts Auditorium 
School of Architecture

Free and open to the public


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