Monday, May 02, 2016

Lip service

Now here’s something you don’t see every day (even in museums). Two of the guards kissing in the corner, well kissing whenever someone came into their gallery space anyway. And it's not just a peck on the cheek either, they were hard at it. We were in the Jumex Museum in Mexico City. This amazing private foundation is around the size of the Auckland Art Gallery (could even be bigger) and is showing selections from what they say is the largest collection of contemporary art in Latin America.

Kissing Guards is a work by the British artist Tino Sehgal. In 2010 he participated in the Auckland Triennial at St Paul's with a dancer slowly rolling and moving across the floor as visitors entered the space. In Jumex Sehgal's ‘guards’ performed their task right through the hours we were in the building and it looked like a relay team of performers were on kissing duty all day, all week.

In Mexico City Sehgal's work rather than being the experience of a moment in time felt like it had more in common with the work of Santiago Sierra. This Spanish artist (who visited New Zealand for the One Day Sculpture series in 2008) has hired poor laborers of many kinds to be tattooed, stand in lines, be walled up in art gallery spaces or undertake other menial tasks as his commentary on capitalist based inequality.