This major survey of the German/British artist Tino Sehgal marks the new directorate of Beatrix Ruf at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Taking place in 2015, the overview unfolds in 12 chapters. 

Beatrix Ruf comments, “I am truly proud to be able to realize a project that presents one of the most radical artists of this era. Tino Sehgal thinks about how to continue conceptual art, which has such a long history in the Stedelijk, extending this field beyond the material and into the experience of space and time. It is exciting to work together on how Sehgal’s sharp artistic statements can be presented in a survey exhibition, which has never been done before. This one-year-long project will challenge our concepts of how live situations in the context of a collection display define presence and how an overview of this particular oeuvre is constructed in the sequence of presentations.”

Tino Sehgal (b. 1976), who originally studied political economics and dance, crossed over to the visual arts in 2000. He achieved international renown for his groundbreaking, experimental work presented at the Venice Biennale, Documenta in Kassel, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and Tate Modern in London. The Stedelijk has worked with Sehgal from the outset of his career, presenting his work in 2004 and 2006; the museum acquired his first work in 2005, Instead of allowing some thing to rise up to your face dancing bruce and dan and other things (2000).

For Sehgal, an artwork consists of a live encounter between artwork and viewer. Sehgal does not make objects; he creates “situations” within the museum space, in which interpreters enact choreographed actions and occasionally converse with visitors. These encounters offer the visitor a wholly unique experience of live artwork.

Conceived as a series of 12 consecutive presentations, the exhibition features different work from Sehgal’s oeuvre each month, enacted in a different gallery space. The survey will build up in intensity, starting in January with a subtle intervention in the heart of the museum’s permanent collection: Instead of allowing some thing to rise up to your face dancing bruce and dan and other things. In this work, which is owned by the Stedelijk, a human figure lying on the floor fluidly moves through a number of positions of the human body in reference to works of Bruce Nauman and Dan Graham.

In the months after January, the scale of the works will gradually increase, culminating in the summer with “situations” involving a larger number of participants. As summer turns to fall the works return to a smaller scale, ending in December.

Divided over 12 successive chapters and unfolding over a one-year period, Sehgal’s 12-part survey is not only a prelude to a fresh approach to using the building under Ruf’s new directorship but also an innovative re-envisioning of the exhibition as phenomenon.

The exhibition is curated by Beatrix Ruf and Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen.

A Year at the Stedelijk: Tino Sehgal is generously supported by Ammodo, Fonds 21 and the Goethe Institut.

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