Imagine being asked to take part in one of the world’s most famous and radical artist’s exhibitions at Blenheim Palace!
That’s exactly how 50 local residents came to be involved in Tino Sehgal‘s current major solo exhibition at the Woodstock landmark.
Sourced from Woodstock, Stonesfield, Eynsham and Oxford, the 52 amateur participants were sourced by word-of-mouth to take part in the summer exhibition.
They feature in two of the scenes in Tino Sehgal at Blenheim Park & Gardens exhibition, one where a group of 30 roam the palace gardens, story-telling, singing and interacting with the palace visitors.
Antonia Jolles, Director of Exhibitions for Blenheim Art Foundation said: “It was Tino’s idea from the outset to involve the local community, rather than employ professional performers, so we have gathered together a lovely group to take part, from friends to husbands and wives, school friends, and fathers and daughters, aged between 16-74, and all from the local vicinity.
“this was the perfect moment to introduce an outdoor work of this calibre to Blenheim, considering what everyone has been through”
“The exhibition really is something that needs to be experienced in person, but as the human connection is something that people have really missed, we felt this was the perfect moment to introduce an outdoor work of this calibre to Blenheim, considering what everyone has been through during the pandemic.
“The feedback to Timo’s work so far has been extremely positive, and although we try to ensure that all of Blenheim Art Foundation‘s annual exhibitions are pioneering, enabling an artist of this calibre to react to the grounds rather than the palace itself was incredibly timely.”
The work – a complex, roaming choreography imagined for Blenheim, is like a game of encounters and responds to the number of visitors, locations and the weather.
Akin to a swarm or flock, the group of participants enact moments of connection with visitors and their surroundings.
And while Blenheim Art Foundation is keen not to give too much away, or spoil the surprise, Edward Spencer-Churchill, Founder of Blenheim Art Foundation, said: “it is a privilege to be able to involve and represent the local community in this poignant project.”
“We are delighted to welcome Tino Sehgal to Blenheim, along with a great number of participants from the local Oxfordshire community to bring his vision to life. Sehgal’s radical practice celebrates the poetics of everyday people, their lives and their stories.”
Tino Sehgal’s art focuses on social encounters and its fleeting gestures and subtleties, where participation and open exchange is valued above materialism.
Conceived as a series of scenes rather than works with fixed locations, the exhibition is played out throughout the extensive Blenheim grounds.
Tino Sehgal, one of the most important artists of his generation, 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 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: “After a long year distanced from one from another, Tino’s work feels more relevant than ever. Our eighth exhibition at Blenheim is unlike any other we have presented before, by one of the most important artists of this generation.”
Tino Sehgal at Blenheim Park & Gardens is on until August 17 from 10am-5pm daily. Go to https://www.blenheimpalace.com/whats-on/events/tino-sehgal.html for more details and booking info.