I am NOT tino sehgal, but I have him
6 perfomers, 6 books, 6 hours of perfomance. Each person writes on the book the name of Tino Sehgal for one hour. Take over every hour, for 6 hours.
You are but you do not have yourself. I have thee. In my eyes, in my opinion, under my touch, in my expectation. We are made of interstices between us. I am not Tino Sehgal, neither you. But we have him. In our pen, signing the book with his name. This action is not about signature. Who cares who the author is? It is all about identity possession and negotiation of connections. The archaic value of gossip.
Special thanks to the performers: Eldi Dundee, Annemiek van Elst, Chiara Pancot, Edoardo Pascale, Sarah Hill, Paolo Rosini and Gabriella Catalano.
Annemiek van Elst thoughts about the experience:”Not knowing what to expect from the artist or the work we were required to do, the workshop started with opening the body and therefore the mind. In simple steps we were brought to a different level of awareness where we had no judgement towards ourselves, the space and the other in the space. The bodies were loved in whatever form they came in, and that made them present themselves as strong and open bodies and spirits. I will carry the balance of the bird on back for years to come, not only in performance, but also to open and ground in daily life – a very thoughtful and useful observation from the artist Damiano Fina. The final step, worked towards by the previous exercises, was a deep contact made through the eyes but reflecting so much more. Not to disappear in someone else’s eyes, but take take their presence, build it with yours, and reflect this in your performance work. The space that was left in between the workshop and the actual performance was distracting. Although the action of signing the book as Tino Seghal was so meditative that I entered a whole other space – where I was alone creating different spirits on each page. The hour flew by, like a bird floating through the air might not notice the miles it has travelled. When documentation becomes the artwork, the creator becomes a performer. I’ve never felt this more than taking part in ‘I Am Not Tino Seghal But I Have Him’. “Just be normal” is the hardest thing to perform once people are watching, which is why we perform, but in this case the book and the writing hand was doing all the work and my mind was just supporting them. I’ve had an extremely inspiring experience and will carry the memory with me when building on my own practice. Thank you (Damiano Fina) for that”.
Sarah Hill thoughts about the experience: “I sat at the front door entrance, right near the mat, hoping to attract some attention. I think the audience were not sure whether to come in or not, and some people probably wouldn’t understand why I was sitting there. Because I could not look up from my book I’m not sure how many people looked at me, but I think I could feel eyes on me as people passed by. When people walk past talking, they did not stop talking and did not seem bothered by my presence or make any comments. I don’t really think people were curious about why I was sitting there writing in my notebook. Even though it was a strange situation, I did not feel out of place or nervous. The time went quickly. With not gaining any attention from the public walking past me, it made me feel quite angry, and made me draw and write faster. In my head I was thinking “ I command your attention/look at me”. Throughout the day there had not been many members of the public coming into the gallery and by being near the front entrance some more people did come in. All the other performers were well within in the gallery space, but I was at the periphery, almost like an outsider. I was obstructing the entrance and almost acting as a barrier to stop people coming in, yet I was also looking like I could be inviting them in. When I saw the other sketchbooks, I was interested to see what the other performers had done, but Eldi’s book was shut and I felt like I could not open it. Felt strangely invisible but also on show/centre of attention at the same time, invisible because I was sitting on the floor alone in a quiet gallery, but also sticking out like a sore thumb and noticeable because I was the only one”.
© 2016 I am NOT tino sehgal, but I have him. Performance by Damiano Fina on a concept by Francesco Bonami. Nahmad Projects, London (UK). 9th July 2016. Main photo courtesy of Nahmad Projects, London, ph: Alastair Fyfe.