Artist Hunts Needle for in a Haystack (in Paris)

Sven Sachsalber hunts for a needle in a haystack in a performance art piece. Photo: Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
Sven Sachsalber hunts for a needle in a haystack in a performance art piece. Photo: Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

Right now, at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo, Italian artist Sven Sachsalber is painstakingly sifting through a bale of hay. He is going in search of a needle hidden there by the museum’s director. That’s right, performance art is literally engaging with the well-known phrase about a looking for a needle in a haystack.

Sachsalber’s work often explores physical exhaustion, be it by eating a poisonous mushroom, rooming with a cow for 24 hours, or cutting down a massive tree by hand. In the case of searching for the needle, a task that many would consider futile, the fatigue factor is readily apparent: Should Sachsalber’s attention waver for even a second, it is easy to envision the needle being overlooked.

The event, which began today, is titled “Performance,” and is scheduled to run for 48 hours. But it could take much longer, should the needle prove elusive.

Here’s hoping the man is patient.

If this sounds like a performance piece you’d like to see, there appears to be a live-streaming video feed of the intensely tedious task available for your viewing pleasure on YouTube. For our part, artnet News has more pressing things to do with our time.


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