Have you ever been asked, "What do you think, 'progress' means?" by a kid, 10 years old? I have. At first exhibition room of ICA.
If you go to the entrance and get a ticket, the lady calls someone's name. Then a boy wearing a pair of jean and red jumper comes down and say, "hello, I am TOBY, come follow me." He walks to guide you. When you two get enter the room, you see this completely white exhibition space in front of you, as always. But you feel something not particularly as always, more to say, there is nothing, nothing to be exhibit. You must be in a bit of loss.
There, "What do you think, 'progress' means?"
Toby walking a half pawn ahead turns around and says. Watching your eyes directly. Little confusion.
"what? Progress? What does that mean? What kind of progress are you talking?" That might sound incoherence.
"I am asking. What do you think?"
He strictly doesn't give you a clue.
In my case,, "right. Progress. If you have a dream, like you wanna be this or that, or you wanna do something, then try hard to make it come true, and get close to it slow by slow. That may be called progress, I guess."
Not really journalistic answer. Anyways.
He called Christine, walked backwards to face to me. We walked through gallery cafe and up the stairs to talk about the relationship of individual progress and the entire society's one. "For example how do you think of Advancement of nuclear power? Your own progress gives any influence to society you think?"
Just entering an exhibition room with National Diet for the view, a woman in her thirties joined in the conversation. "For instance, advancement in field of herb and Chinese medicine helps me a lot." She said that with big smile.
We talked bit of private things. Where to live, how long to stay and what to do in our lives.
Getting emergency stairs, with clearly leaving-me speed, she got off them. When I followed her in my pace, a red hair woman in her fifties was waiting at the very bottom. She told me some story about her experience working as a BBC journalist, must be heard about some information about me from the former lady. About a social standpoint of the working woman at that time and present. And some more things we want to achieve. Walking down the long aisle going to the excit, I asked that this is the end of the tour. "Yes it is, and also the end of this progress" was her answer.
This is second solo exhibition of TINO SEHGAL .at ICA. This gallery has unique project to focus on an artist through 3 years. Through out his works, he doesn't produce tangible objects or any form of material trace. What he uses is "People", situation that the people make their words, sounds, gestures, idea, and interpersonal relationship. Taking picture is also against his ideology because it is also create material object so there are not detail photos can be seen here.
Because there is nothing to be seen, no press release to read before coming to gallery, our sense becomes sharper. Audience feels various things during this tour and thinks. A child talking about progress is one of the progresses of human being ability, you can say. Starting from a child and elder women, their age also gives you this idea about what is progress. We can think of the conversation and relationships, first giving a question, considering it by some aspects, talking from experience according to age. Also development of ICA itself as a gallery and one of politics that extends outside window.
After the tour, some of the audience stay at cafe and keep talking about the exhibition. When they close there leaves nothing. Although I will tell someone what I saw, felt and discovered. Someone will reply something about it.
There. Even outside of the gallery Small evolution arises. That maybe what TINO SEHGAL EXHIBITION intend.
TINO SEHGAL EXHIBITION
Date: 3rd February - 19th March, 2006
Address: The mall, London SW1Y 5AH
Text and Photos: Sayaka Hirakawa