Tino Sehgal (b. 1976) is known for artworks composed exclusively using the human body, voice, and social interaction. His artistic practice focuses on the fleeting gestures and subtleties of social encounters, with participation and open exchange as the subjects of value, rather than material objects. For this project, Sehgal will present a complex, roaming choreography imagined for Blenheim, involving more than 30 participants.
Conceived as a series of scenes rather than works with fixed locations, the exhibition will move fluidly throughout the Park and Gardens like a game of encounters, responding to specific conditions such as the number of visitors, the location or the weather. Akin to a swarm or flock, the group of participants – the majority of whom are local residents cast specially for this project – will gather and disperse in a fluid and porous choreography, enacting moments of connection with visitors and their surroundings.
This relationship of movement to context is informed by the landscape architecture of Capability Brown. The fluid response to specific locations and vistas, and the adaptation to visitors’ movements, will extend the ways in which Brown’s designs were originally inspired by the ‘capability’ of the existing environment and landscape, their innate potential for transformation and elevation.
Tino Sehgal said: “I feel honoured and excited to be presenting my practice within this Oxfordshire landscape designed by Capability Brown, as I admire the ease with which he interwove nature and culture. As a society, we will need to take this ease as a foremost example for all of our undertakings to meet the global sustainability challenge of the coming decades.”
Michael Frahm, Director of Blenheim Art Foundation, said: “It is with great pleasure that we announce our upcoming exhibition by Tino Sehgal, whose visionary practice has intrigued and delighted viewers for two decades. After a long year distanced one from another, Tino’s work feels more relevant than ever: bringing bodies together in space and calling attention to the fleeting, immaterial magic of human connection. Our eighth exhibition at Blenheim will introduce our visitors to a practice unlike any other we have presented before, by one of the most important artists of this generation.”
Edward Spencer-Churchill, Founder of Blenheim Art Foundation, said: “This year, we are delighted to welcome Tino Sehgal to Blenheim, along with a great number of participants from the local Oxfordshire community who will bring his vision to life. Sehgal’s radical practice celebrates the poetics of everyday people, their lives and their stories. Blenheim itself has always been a place of gathering, of human histories, relationships, exchange and dreams, and it is a privilege to be able to involve and represent the local community in this poignant project.”