HAPPENINGText: Alma Reyes

Another huge box in red orange, The Open Window (2018), reveals a woman staring out in a gesture of horror, confronted by colorful billiard balls bouncing uncontrollably in slow motion. The imagery was derived from the cover illustration of Cat, from the horror series Fear Street that Da Corte often watched in his adolescent years. The collision of balls gradually intensifies provoking violence and fear, which exist all around us.

Alex Da Corte, Rubber Pencil Devil, 2019 © Alex Da Corte studio

Da Corte plays out other crucial human emotions, such as pain in love, gender identity and deliverance towards addiction like drugs and alcohol in the purple box, A Season in He’ll (2012) / Bad Blood (2012) / The Impossible (2012). The concept is inspired by a trilogy of films based on a poem by French poet Arthur Rimbaud. In the glittering red box Chelsea Hotel No. 2 (2010), Da Corte’s personal experience of having his personal possessions being stolen reminds us of excessive food consumption, metaphorically humorized against the background music of songwriter Leonard Cohen. Four rainbow boxes in Rubber Pencil Devil (2019) illustrate pop-culture characters Pink Panther, Sylvester the Cat, Mister Rogers, and the Devil, played by Da Corte himself. They cover 57 chapters and a prologue in a two-hour-40-minute stream of videos. Here, we detect symbols of alienation, human desire and fantasy, and mockery on contemporary society.

Alex Da Corte, The Study of the Human Body in Motion, 2014 / La Mort des Amants, 2011 / Carry that Weight, 2003 / Daggering, 2011 / Dora, 2021, Installation view: Alex Da Corte Fresh Hell, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, 2023, Photo: Tomoki Imai

The gallery of five sets of colored tables and chairs, The Study of the Human Body in Motion (2014) / La Mort des Amants (2011) / Carry that Weight (2003) / Daggering (2011) / Dora (2021) steps away from the pattern of massive boxes into small television sets instead, plotting various themes of daily life—love and weakness through the artist carrying a ketchup bottle; desperation in a killer spying on his family; isolation during the pandemic; and intoxication with machines. Visitors can take time to sit on the chairs and watch the videos with curiosity.

Alex Da Corte, Mouse Museum (Van Gogh Ear), 2022, Installation view: Alex Da Corte Fresh Hell, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, 2023, Photo: Tomoki Imai

Unique among the rest of the galleries is Mouse Museum (Van Gogh Ear) (2022), caged inside a curvilinear glass case in a dark, black pavilion. The installation is Da Corte’s recreation of the original Mouse Museum produced by Swedish-American sculptor Claes Oldenburg, which showcased small collected objects representing Mickey Mouse. Da Corte collated his own personal memorabilia of models, maquettes, and other props, from utensils, fruits, vegetables, toys, masks to a clay model of Van Gogh’s ear. Visitors will be caught inside Da Corte’s worldview of tactility and unsung emotions.

Don’t miss the museum’s other amusing installations: Patrick Blanc’s Green Bridge (2004), a 13-meter long plant-covered wall; Anish Kapoor’s L’Origine du monde (2004), James Turrell’s Blue Planet Sky (2004), and more.

Alex Da Corte Fresh Hell
Date: April 29th – September 18th, 2023
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 18:00 (Fridays and Saturdays until 20:00)
Closed on Mondays (except September 18th)
Place: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Address: 1-2-1 Hirosaka, Kanazawa, Ishikawa
Tel: +81 (0)76 220 2800

Text: Alma Reyes

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