Alex Da Corte | Interview

Alex Da Corte © Matthew Leifheit

Alex Da Corte kreiert einnehmende Welten und poetische Kommentare zu dem, was wir als unsere Welt betrachten. Gefühlvoll will er uns dazu anregen, unserer Umwelt besser zuzu­hören, noch einmal hinzusehen und auch die Schönheit unserer Zahnbürste zu ent­decken. Seine Ausstellung in der Wiener Secession ist ohne Umschweife eine der sehenswertesten des Jahres. Wir haben Alex Da Corte im Zuge des Ausstellungsaufbaus im Juni getroffen. Lesen Sie das deutschsprachige Interview in unserem gerade erschienen Special Up&Coming und hier das englische Original.


Which are the themes that narrate this exhibition?

I made a lot of shows last year and I felt like I was in this particular track. A lot related to the poem „A Season in Hell“ by Arthur Rimbaud and the writings of Ben Franklin. It felt political and was obviously tied to what was happening in the States. When I was thinking about this show I really wanted to change and think about a different kind of tone.

I think it is hard to change. It is hard to just turn around and be a different person. But I thought instead of making art that was super hard and electric that the theme, if there is ever a theme, would be about softness, vulnerability, fear and embracing my body and being human and tender. I didn’t want things to be about hell I didn’t want them to be about something that wasn’t approachable. I wanted it to be about relating to people. All the materials in the show, like carpets, velvet, paper or rubber, are things that feel like you want to touch them.

Can you tell us something about the title “Slow Graffiti (Forthcoming)“?

It is taken from a Belle and Sebastian song, that has a line that refers to a picture that one keeps in their back room and the singer keeps his gaze upon. In my mind that is sort of a picture of Dorian Gray. I thought slow graffiti may be a reference to wrinkles. Wrinkles are this really beautiful proof that something happened. I was thinking how is graffiti a beautiful thing? And how is graffiti like transgression? To let your wrinkles show is a beautiful thing versus trying to turn yourself into plastic in denial of something beautiful, which is time and experience. In our time together today maybe we will each grow a wrinkle and that is great, that is a really special thing.

If you picture yourself as a house and you have a certain style but one day you want to graffiti your house, you want to break the structure and be a new person – how would that happen? How would you alter yourself? That change I was equating to graffiti.

The exhibition feels like one big work of art.

Yes, like a big Kandinsky painting or something. I think that is lyrical and in a place I want it to be, especially here in Vienna. In terms of the Secession it feels really romantic and free in terms of decoration. It’s a place for opportunity, it’s sort of the opposite of hell.

You seem to always be in dialogue with other artists, quoting Belle and Sebastian, referring to Warhol, …

100%. I think everyone is in a big net. Resisting comparison or ties to other artists is the same as getting plastic surgery, it is denial of time. I am happy to be inspired. I think it is good to be on the same team, even if that team is full of strangers.

How much of your installation follows a concrete upfront plan?

This show was really difficult. I really struggled, but also I really wanted to take risks. There wasn’t really a plan, there was so much making and so much playing around in my studio to figure out what felt right and what felt wrong. There is always a plan and there is never a plan. Artists make things because they don’t have answers and so a show is a proposition of a bunch of questions with no plan or answers or hope that it will do anything besides provide more questions.

Are the qualities of each object inherent or do you, as the artist, assign certain qualities to chosen objects?

I think I am not responsible for any kind of assigning. I can direct and infer things.
A lot of the objects I want to work with have a scale about what is attractive to me. They can push me to disgust, when something is so loaded with commercial phantasy that the maker wanted me to have, or then I’ll find a piece of thrown away plastic and think, where is the home of it? Does it need someone? Can I find a friend in it or can I find a friend for it? The two poles make up my work. The push to empathize with whatever the object has to offer and not necessarily go with your first reaction to it. I want to encourage more time spent with our thoughts.

Is it all sex, love and poetry?


Alex Da Corte: Slow Graffiti
bis 3. September 2017