Swing Space: Tino Sehgal

Swing Space: Tino Sehgal

July 9 - August 20, 2006

Kiss, 2002


Everyone in the international art world is watching for the next Tino Sehgal work. Riding a wave of critical acclaim, Berlin-based artist Sehgal has created a significant ripple of intrigue with works recently on display at Tate Britain and in the 4th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art. The Art Gallery of Ontario is the first museum in North America to acquire and exhibit one of Sehgal's works. Kiss, 2002 will be on view from July 9 to August 20.

Kiss offers an unexpected experience for the museum visitor. An eight-minute choreographed loop, Kiss presents a man and a woman rapturously embraced and enacting different interpretations of some well-known kisses from art history – such as those by Auguste Rodin, Constantin Brancusi, Edward Munch and Jeff Koons.  Alternating couples act as interpreters of Sehgal's work, moving constantly and morphing slowly from one kiss to the next. At the end of the sequence, the man and woman seamlessly change roles and the continuum is reenacted. Kiss is danced continuously during all public gallery hours. Upon completion of the exhibition, no physical trace of the work of art remains.

"The radicality of Kiss resides in its classical nature", says Dr. David Moos, AGO curator of Contemporary Art.  "Kiss is a work that fits well in the collection of the AGO with its comprehensive holdings of sculpture."

Sehgal's work is influenced by the traditions of conceptualism and minimalism that began in the 1960s as artists challenged existing definitions of what constituted the art work and the art experience. Sehgal takes the idea of making and not making a work to the extreme. He allows no photographs of his work to be taken or reproduced, no catalogues or press releases to be printed, and no paperwork to accompany the purchasing or selling of a work. No tangible trace of the work remains: the artist wishes the viewer's experience to constitute the artwork.


Sehgal was born in London, England, in 1976 and is currently based in Berlin. He studied choreography and political economics. Sehgal has received praise for work that has been shown at Tate Britain and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. He was recently nominated for the prestigious Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, and was one of two artists representing Germany at the 2005 Venice Biennale.

Tino Sehgal's Kiss is a promised gift of Thomas H. Bjarnason to the Art Gallery of Ontario.

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