Tate Modern has unveiled the first live commission in The Unilever Series created by the artist Tino Sehgal. Using movement, sound and conversation, Sehgal’s work titled These associations draws on the existing atmosphere of the Turbine Hall and its unique position as a public space within a museum. This commission, the thirteenth in the series, will be present throughout opening hours every day from 24 July to 28 October.
Tino Sehgal has risen to prominence for his innovative works which consist purely of live encounters between people. Avoiding the production of any objects, he has pioneered a radical and yet entirely viewer-oriented approach to making art. His works respond to and engage with the gallery visitor directly, creating social situations through the use of conversation, sound and movement, as well as philosophical and economic debate. Having trained in both political economics and choreography, Sehgal’s works are renowned for their high levels of interaction, intimacy, and critical reflection on their environment.
Celebrated for its unconventional museum atmosphere of exhilaration and social interaction, the Turbine Hall is here inhabited by an assembly of participants whose choreographed actions draw on the behaviour of groups and collectives. At times almost indistinguishable from the visitors in the Turbine Hall, at others a clearly defined and constructed situation, These associations can be perceived quite differently from the elevated position of the bridge or gallery windows as opposed to the floor of the Turbine Hall, where visitors are potentially swept up in the movement and dialogue of the piece.
The Turbine Hall is historically a site of energy production through the massive turbine engines that once occupied this cavernous space. Now emptied of its industrial apparatus, the hall is instead occupied by the physical and vocal energy of the participants and visitors, whose movement, sound and interaction produce another type of force. Sehgal’s work develops from the already existing atmosphere of the Turbine Hall that offers the experience of being part of a group rather than following the historical precedent of the museum space as a site for individual contemplation and controlled social deportment.
Sehgal was born in London in 1976 and currently lives and works in Berlin. He is currently included in Documenta XIII and had a solo exhibitnion at the Guggenheim Museum in 2010. Sehgal represented Germany at the Venice Biennale in 2005. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held around the world, including Villa Reale, Milan; ICA, London; Kunsthaus Bregenz; and the Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.
This commission is part of the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad. It is curated by Jessica Morgan, The Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate Modern and produced by Asad Raza. The commission is also supported by the Goethe Institut.
Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern said:
“Once again, The Unilever Series has inspired an artist to respond to the Turbine Hall in a unique and innovative way. Tino Sehgal’s piece has managed to fill this vast space with life and energy using nothing but the human body and social interaction as its medium, and to transform the museum into a biopolitical and anarchic experience.”
Sue Garrard, Senior Vice President, Global Communications, Unilever plc said:
“Tino Sehgal is the thirteenth artist commissioned for The Unilever Series, making it one of the longest running and most successful of art sponsorships. To date almost 30 million people have seen the various installations in The Unilever Series. We are confident that millions more will come to see Tino Sehgal’s work this summer.”
Ruth Mackenzie, Director, London 2012 Festival said:
“This commission for the London 2012 Festival delivers on our key values – brilliant art by a world leading artist that can be accessed by the public for free. I am sure this will be another ground-breaking commission for Tate by one of the world’s most interesting and original artists, and a highlight of London’s celebrations this summer.”