Alex Da Corte is a Philadelphia-based installation artist who recently created a “dollhouse” of fragmented memories and rainbow-colored horrors out of Luxembourg & Dayan‘s three-story townhouse in New York. Entitled “Die Hexe” (German for “The Witch”), Da Corte’s work guided the visitor on a hallucinogenic journey through a mash-up of absurdist cultural and historical imagery: a wooden rocking chair with overlapping backs; a section of Nicolas Poussin’s Midas and Bacchus beside a coffee shaped like a bondage-clad stripper; and a dove sitting atop a pair of goaltender masks reminiscent of Friday the 13th’s Jason.
The experience went something like this: a drain by Robert Gober was viewed through a peephole in the foyer. From there on, the visitor passed through a series of rooms and hallways filled with seemingly disconnected artifacts — from the mundane, to the absurd, to works of art by Haim Steinbach (who created the “framing devices”, or shelves) and Bjarne Melgaard (the stripper coffee table) (Source). The final room featured green tiles nauseatingly reminiscent of the place where Kurt Cobain shot himself. By overwhelming the visitor with strange imagery that haunts the imagination on an almost subconscious level, “Die Hexe” evoked a variety of emotions and sensations: fear, repulsion, delight, and desire.
Da Corte’s rooms drew on more personal memories, as well. As Luxembourg & Dayan’s press release reveals, “Die Hexe” included “a pantry smelling of spices and filled with anonymous products,” recalling the artist’s grandfathers, who both “worked along the food supply chain” (Source). Elsewhere, Da Corte has transferred childhood emotions into objects remindful of his grandmother’s house, including “craft-based décor such as woven rugs, quilt patterns, and wreathes.” Such intimate artifacts, when coupled with dislocated bits of cultural imagery, express identity as a patchwork, one that repeatedly falls apart and is sewn together again by memories and emotion.
While “Die Hexe” ended April 11th, you are not out of luck; Da Corte will be opening his first museum solo exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in March 2016. For more pictures and thoughts on “Die Hexe,” check out Hi-Fructose’s fascinating summary, as well as this insightful article on artnet News. (Via Hi-Fructose).