Sperone Westwater is pleased to present Lotus, Coffee and Stone Pine, Portraits, Snow and Boyfriend, an exhibition of recent work by Not Vital. This exhibition of diverse works, Vital’s fourth solo show at the gallery, will feature new sculpture as well as works on paper from the Swiss artist.
As an artist who has always rejected the limiting associations of a cabal, Vital continues to reinforce his distinctive vernacular with this exhibition. Building on the inclusive array of influences he has collected from the many settings where he lives and works, Vital presents his new sculptures as a genesis of his eclectic process. Dividing his time between the isolated Engadin region of Switzerland where he was born and the places- New York, Lucca, and Agadez, Niger- that he has adopted as complementary homelands, Vital constructs the backbone of his intersection between the exotic and domestic, foreign and familiar.
From his changing landscape, Vital brings together a flux of seeming opposites, natural and artificial, animal and human bodies, to blur the boundaries between authentic and surreal. He dissolves the corporal into its components, rearranging its natural order and context. In Lotus (2007) Vital dramatizes the proportions of the venerated flower, distorting a realistic manifestation and pushing the object towards fantasy. The dusted columns that compose Coffee (2007), an organic stimulant, are positioned across from the stone pine, a sedating, anodyne wood from the mountain region of Switzerland, which forests The New York Calming Room (2007). Fabricated by the Tuareg silversmiths in Agadez, the series Portraits (2007) derive their dimensions from the birthday of each subject; amongst them Bruce Nauman, Jean Genet, and Constantine Brancusi. Snow (2007) displays the product of the artists forceful, yet playful thrusts of plaster onto an otherwise bare wall. The life-sized carved marble depiction of a male nude lying prone on a fur-lined sleeping bag, Boyfriend (2006), juxtaposes the exposed human and animal forms, a result which is both inviting and foreboding.
Vital uses the polarity of his realms, the desert and the wintry wonderland, the decedent and the minimal, to formulate representation of mythologies that are both personal and rooted in tradition. Admitting that his real studio is “in his head,” space in Vital’s methodology is immaterial. He engages as a transient participant in the environment around him. In doing so, Vital is able to maintain the diversified perspective that is necessary for altering cultural associations and formulates an inimitable elixir of aesthetic and personal experience.
Vital’s work has been exhibited and collected extensively around the world. Recent exhibitions include “Not Vital,” at The Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 2 February – 7 April 2006; “Not Vital: Agadez,” Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany 20 March – 5 June 2005; and “Plateau of Humanity,” at the 49th Venice Biennale , 6 June – 4 November 2001.
Not Vital (b. 1948, Switzerland) currently lives and works in, Sent, Agadez, Lucca, and New York.