Los Angeles’ Art + Practice and the Hammer Museum present the first L.A. solo exhibition by interdisciplinary artist Alex Da Corte.Alex Da Corte: A Season in He’llwill be on view July 9–September 17, 2016 at Art + Practice in Leimert Park.
Da Corte is known for his pop-informed sensibility and embrace of theatricality. In his elaborate set pieces, banal objects and consumer goods serve as both actors and props in a dreamy, yet simultaneously nightmarish, landscape. For Art + Practice, Da Corte is producing an ambitious three‐part, site specific installation and several new works, in addition to showing four recent videos, which have never been presented together in the United States.
A Season in He’ll continues the artist’s meditation on Arthur Rimbaud’s “A Season in Hell” (1873), a long form poem that depicts the author’s imagined descent into purgatory and his wrestling with alienation and emotional turmoil. The exhibition also includes a number of new works by Da Corte, inspired by a variety of sources, such as the Walt Disney films Fantasia (1940) and Beauty and the Beast (1991) and the films of Italian horror director Dario Argento in which fantasy, magic, and the supernatural play significant roles in existential battles of good versus evil.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is Da Corte’s 2012 trilogy of videos, named after chapters of Rimbaud’s poem. A Season in He’ll, Bad Blood, and The Impossible each feature an actor, who bears a striking resemblance to the artist himself, performing a series of ritualistic, mysterious, occasionally violent gestures with a tableau of props. The videos become the space for Da Corte to trouble the performance of masculinity by testing the actor’s physical limitations in adhering to increasingly dangerous and challenging direction. This dynamic culminates in the 2014 A Night in Hell, Part II, a hypnotic, slow motion video for which Da Corte hired a Hollywood stunt double to perform dressed as a mummy, falling from an unknown height while on fire.