Designer detritus: artist Alex Da Corte makes the everyday extraordinary
What do we want from the stuff we use, and what do we feel when we use it? From dollar store soda, shampoo, IKEA furniture and hair rollers to flour, dirt and plastic food stuffs, Alex Da Corte’s materials are the commonplace detritus of the everyday, and deliberately so. In his searingly colourful videos, paintings, installations or sculptures, the Philadelphia-based artist finds poetry in consumer culture and theatricality in the suburban.
At a solo exhibition opening on 9 July in Los Angeles, Da Corte brings his 360-degree practice to the Hammer Museum, with a new, site-specific multimedia installation, incorporating a survey of recent video work. (Well, almost – it’s being presented off-site, at LA’s Art + Practice.) This is Da Corte’s second solo exhibition with a US museum this year; his solo at MASS MoCA – ’Free Roses’, running until January 2017 – includes a dazzling, 100ft, carefully-constructed installation that speaks of the artist’s interest in sets, stages and surfaces. ’A Season in He’ll’ (the title a reference to Arthur Rimbaud’s poem ’A Season in Hell’, the inspiration behind a series of works) continues Da Corte’s investigations into the intersection of the visual with the psychological. With a language that is rooted in post-pop and post-internet, the Hammer Museum presentation is perceived as an investigation into the way we filter and apply images and their effect on our psyche. ’A Season in He’ll’ distils Western dissatisfaction and bad taste into something that is still artificial, but has a chimerical charge.
’How can this be the better place to live? What is this Coke doing for us? What is this remake of Beauty and the Beast doing for us? What exquisite joy or pain will this peanut butter deliver to us? Who is responsible for change?’ Da Corte asks. ’We are responsible for change. We are the sponges that do the dirty dishes. We absorb. We change. We grow. We start again.’