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Tino Sehgal

Martin-Gropius-Bau/Haus der Berliner Festspiele

Tino Sehgal calls his works, which have been devised primarily for presentations in art museums rather than theaters, “constructed situations.” Others have taken to describing them as “living sculptures.” But as I encountered the pieces in the London-born artist’s first major exhibition in the city where he now lives, it was hard to resist the feeling that they are more like theater and less like sculpture than they are meant to be. What makes the difference, after all, does not entirely reside in the work itself (whatever itself is taken to mean here) but in the relation that the work establishes with its public—or rather, in more theatrical terms, its audience.

The people who turned up to see Sehgal’s five pieces at the Martin-Gropius-Bau clearly felt themselves to be an audience witnessing a series of acts rather than viewers in the presence of various sculptures: They consistently

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