Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Guest Review - Chris Roberts: Tino Sehgal's "Kiss" MCA Chicago

Tino Sehgal – Kiss – Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
October 7 – December 30, 2007

The German artist Tino Sehgal intervenes the fourth floor exhibit, Collection Highlights at the MCA, with an aggressive performance art piece titled Kiss, creating an atmosphere of both lust and awkwardness. Taking its cue from conceptual art and twisting it with art historical references, Sehgal choreographs two dancers to assume slow moving kisses that require adequate stamina from the participants and tolerance from the museums visitors. Onlookers are bewildered as to what is taking place, questioning the couple’s morality as to their public displays of affection, and the appropriateness of the quarters. This creates a great tension between the performers and that of the spectators, which mirrors the performer’s actions between them.

Kiss succeeds in its eagerness to engage an unsuspecting audience, whose onlookers stumble on the performance like an accident, and continue to gawk in amazement as they pass by, trying not to look, but compelled to continue. With no formal announcement that the piece is taking place, Kiss sends out no message, yet leaves one questioning its own preconceived notions of what is a proper display of affection.

Review by Chris Roberts

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