Buying a Tino Seghal

Things perked up when Sehgal explained how he actually sells his work in the absence of documentary photographs or certificates of authenticationóa weird tale of oral contracts memorized by lawyers and of the artist teaching the buyer how to perform the work, thus instigating a pedagogical daisy chain if and when it's sold again. Later, he convincingly refuted suggestions that his work was either subversive or a rehash of '60s conceptual strategies, asserting that it is, rather, a politicized inquiry into the mutability of modes of production. He resembled an earnest economistódisinterested in getting Croesus-rich off his art and mentioning only in passing that Joseph Kosuth had told him he'd solved a fundamental problem of Conceptualism. Perhaps seeking to keep his friend's self-esteem in check, Hoffmann needled him for that. "You finally achieved the dematerialization of the art object," he said dryly, to a ripple of laughter. Sehgal quickly changed the subject and, shortly afterward, dematerialized into the night.
Tino Seghal's show at ICA London runs through March 3rd. It is a series of staged responses and actions--not quite performances, per se, from what I understand. Seghal's discussion of his work comes from Martin Herbert in Artforum's Scene & Heard.

[Update: interestingly enough, Seghal is one of two artists representing Germany at the Venice Biennale. The other is Thomas Scheibitz, whose work you can't buy because they're always already sold out.]

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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first published: January 28, 2005.

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