This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.

Tino Sehgal at Marian Goodman

Tino Sehgal
Marian Goodman - 24 W. 57 St, New York NY
30 November 2007 - 10 January 2008

Each visitor to This situation, the recently closed Tino Sehgal show at Marian Goodman, is greeted by a chorus of performers who chant, "Welcome to this situation," before walking backwards and assuming a tableau. One of the performers than recites a quotation and a discussion ensues. This process is repeated for each new arrival.The quotations are framed with two variables; the date and the author, who is either 'somebody,' or 'a Situationist.' Thus:

"In 1953 a Situationist said "The struggle against poverty has overshot its ultimate goal – the liberation of man from material care – and become an obsessive image hanging over the present. Presented
with the alternative of love or a garbage disposal unit, young people of all countries have chosen the garbage disposal unit."


"In 2005, somebody said, "The big question of our times is that… everybody… has to produce an income, in order to buy food and housing. But actually there is (little) which is really necessary - except what, say, 5 % of the population are producing in terms of housing and food. If the rest of production is unnecessary as well as problematic… How can I turn this equation, i.e. just produce something that is somehow also nothing and make an income out of it… Today we have enough material products… they are becoming counterproductive, but we still need to produce things because we need an income. So what else could we produce? And are these things then interesting? I think the experimental side of my work is that I produce things which fulfill certain criteria, for example the criteria of being sustainable. But then the question is are they attractive or are they just boring?"


"In 1967 a Situationist said, "Reified man advertises the proof of his intimacy with the commodity. The fetishism of commodities reaches moments of fervent exaltation similar to the ecstasies of the convulsions and miracles of the old religious fetishism. The only use which remains here is the fundamental use of submission."

Or maybe

"In 2005 somebody said 'I think that, at the very moment one wants to do something specialized, one has to exchange that something in order to be able to cover one's basic needs, so one is in the market. Factually, you do want to be inside the market. So for me, this whole discourse of reification isn't interesting. Instead of being against the product, for me the question is rather how to use the market to
circulate a different, more sustainable, and more interesting kind of product.'"

Followed by

"In 1965 a Situationist said, "This fragmentary contestation can then only withdraw to an aesthetic position and harden rapidly into a dated and ineffectual aesthetic… typical of degraded bourgeois mysticism (art as a substitute for religion)."


"In 2004 somebody said, "I'm not interested in the notion of fetish… This has not been one of my problems. I would like people to fetishise my work, why not."


"In 1958 a Situationist said "This relation between the director and the "livers" of the situation must naturally never become a permanent specialization. It is a purely temporary subordination… It could be said that the construction of situations will replace the theater in the same sense that the real construction of life has tended to replace religion."


"In 2007 somebody said, "What are the major buildings being built today?" They're not churches, they're not cinemas, they're not carparks. They're museums. When, at other times, we focused on churches, today we focus on museums. Obviously, the museum must be the ritual space of our time."


"In 1988 a Situationist said, "In all that has happened in the past twenty years, the most important change lies in the very continuity of the spectacle. This has nothing to do with the perfecting of its media instruments… it means quite simply that the spectacle's domination has succeeded in raising a whole generation molded to its laws. The extraordinary new conditions in which this entire generation has effectively lived constitute a precise and comprehensive summary of all that, henceforth, the spectacle will forbid; and also all that it will permit."

And then

"In 2007 somebody said "We are now so civilized and so contained that we can actually afford ourselves the luxury of being loud and of having these kinds of experiences in a museum setting… These governmental forces are so deeply embedded in us that we can afford to let go."

From time to time, a performer will turn to a visiting member of the audience and ask – what do you think?