An overwhelming, visual experience, this exhibition is the largest to date in Europe with international art-star Alex Da Corte. He works with painting, sculpture, installation and video, often appearing in disguise in his films, taking on iconic figures such as Popeye or the Statue of Liberty.
Alex Da Corte (b. 1980) conquers spaces with color in the interesection between design and visuel culture. Louisiana’s exhibition is the first in-depth presentation of the Venezuelan-American artist’s works in Europe. A mix of both early and completely new works in a totally overpowering scenography, conceived by the artist, with specially designed floors, brightly colored walls, neon lights and characteristic scents – all in all like stepping into a parallel reality.
The exhibition presents a number of Da Corte's large film installations, which include references to a wealth of popular cultural phenomena such as rapper Eminem and The Muppets. In addition, a number of sculptural works, paintings and drawings are displayed to provide a full overview of Da Corte's artistic practice.
Pop art on acid
Alex Da Corte’s works are distinctly rooted in traditional American arts and culture. He seems to mix Pop art and its investigation of the surfaces of popular culture – as practiced by Warhol and Lichtenstien – with an acerbic and satirical existentialism of his own. The works often possess a duality of remarkable gloom and sadness and at the same time something very effortless, playful and light.
Rubber Pencil Devil
Louisiana’s new acquisition, Rubber Pencil Devil, forms a central part of the exhibition and is one of Da Corte’s masterpieces. The work consists of a two-hour and forty-minute-long film (composed of 57 short films) and a screening environment that serves as a poetic extension of the film with sculptural furniture and a rug that resembles a soccer field.
Da Corte's works connect our sense of self, of an identity, to our consumer culture - from the films we watch, to the objects we buy, give and throw away. With this, he binds a kind of existential weight to the immediately innocent in, for example, watching The Muppet Show. In Da Corte's world, we are all a kind of freaks, a sum of parts pieced together by what we surround ourselves with and consume.
Da Corte has hand-built unique scenographies for each of the 57 films – a regular tour de force. Despite working with digital video, his approach is, therefore, characteristic of him, very analogous. The films refer to American children’s TV classics, such as Mr. Rogers, The Seven Little Dwarfs from Snow White and Bart Simpson. The artist plays many of these characters himself in full make-up, his appropriation is both humorous and playful in tone, while the pace of the film has been slowed down, giving a sense of both melancholy and alienation.
With this exhibition, the museum follows up its strong engagement in the artist, which started early in Da Corte’s career with the 2014 acquisition of his installation Delirium I (2014) and his film Chelsea Hotel No. 2 (2010). In 2019, they were robustly supplemented with Rubber Pencil Devil, the installation, which Da Corte showed at that year’s Venice Biennale.