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NO PICTURES, PLEASE: THE ART OF TINO SEHGAL

SO YOU WALK INTO THE TOP FLOOR of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London to see This objective of that object, 2004, by Tino Sehgal, a British-born artist based in Berlin. There are five people standing around the galleries with their backs turned to you, simultaneously whispering, “The objective of this work is to be the object of a discussion.” Their voices get louder as they chant the sentence several times. A silence ensues. If you approach them, they wander off to the nearest wall, avoiding face-to-face contact. If nobody speaks, they wilt and collapse onto the floor. If, like me, you want some answers about this quasi-cultish assembly, you start asking questions.

“What kind of discussion?”

The performer in front of me declares, “The visitor has asked a question!”

“It is a question we have been asked before!” trumps his neighbor.

“Who will answer?” they cry in unison.

“We should ask

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