Americas

Alex Da Corte
Slow Graffiti

Slow Graffiti, was produced for Da Corte’s exhibition at the Vienna Secession in 2017.  The video is a shot-for-shot remake of the film “The Perfect Human” by Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth (1967). The original is narrated in an anthropological manner, or as if listening to a guide at a zoo, but Da Corte’s version is stranger and more philosophical. Leth’s film has uncomfortable implications, such as: is the perfect human white, attractive, detached? The original, which is shot with a sense of fashion (resembling contemporary clothing commercials), offers mixed signals about objectivity, and at the very least a provocation about the notion of human perfection.

Slow Graffiti features the artist performing Frankenstein, specifically the monster as brought to life by the actor Boris Karloff. During an interview, Karloff made the statement, “that monster was the best friend I ever had,” in speaking about his iconic portrayal of Frankenstein in the 1931 Hollywood film. This statement animates Da Corte’s Frankenstein, caught in forces tender, humorous, absurd and destructive. As an icon, Frankenstein represents ‘an idea come to life’ but also absorbs through metaphor the kind of transformations that results from technological intervention. In the original story by Mary Shelley Frankenstein is also composed of many different parts, from different bodies, and so suggests an assembled identity, mixed background, polyphonic references and influences, that continue to find relevance in contemporary life.

The voiceover and audio-track, which diverges in bizarre, critical, suggestive and poetic ways was scored by Devonté Hynes.

Alex Da Corte’s works conveys a state of delusion, where logic is set aside in order to access the stranger, deeper parts of our minds. In this state he wrestles with vernacular culture, often taking a run at iconic figures and motifs from the inventory of popular American consumables. Da Corte’s work has roots in Pop-art and is imbued with a love and feeling for color as well as a sense of how a store-front-window display might turn tragicomic. This odd portmanteau, a combination of ‘tragic’ and ‘comic,’ speaks to a conflicted identity, a sense of pathos, an emotional zone between or beyond categories. In Da Corte’s work, a sense of dry comedy, sometimes mixed with the abject or absurd, is balanced with the macabre or heart-breaking.