Alex Da Corte and Ed Atkins in Conversation



“My vote is for incoherence.” We brought together two young artists, who have taken the art world by storm. Experience Alex Da Corte and Ed Atkins in this video where they talk about each other’s video works and their contexts.

“Whenever you lose something, it immediately becomes something else … it has a new pedestal, and memory becomes fantasy really quickly – or horror or nightmares. It can go either way, but it becomes something skewered from what it is,” Da Corte argues. The plastic objects and food items in his video work ‘Chelsea Hotel No. 2’ (2010) are thus “all in their own right proposing to be something other than what it is.” Atkins picks up on this and comments how these things – due to their overt symbolism – also become “hyperreal or sort of excessive in their appearance and therefore a bit grotesque, but also somehow truthful in either their erotic aspect or their tangibility … their viscosity.”

“What we don’t want is for technology’s fidelity to be such that it sort of usurps our own mortal clumsiness.” The two artists also touch upon how modern technology has somehow becomes so flawless that it seems fake, making Atkins add technical mistakes to his video works on purpose: “It’s a weirdly comforting thing to retrieve some analogue error.” On his work ‘Happy Birthday!!’ (2014) – as well as his work in general – Atkins furthermore adds that “it’s also about the reality of this world versus the world that I’m putting in the video. The world in the videos is a horrible, purgatorial kind of looping nowhere.”

Alex da Corte (b. 1981) is an American artist who lived in Venezuela until he was eight and now lives and works in Philadelphia. He has had solo shows and presentations at prominent venues such as the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, Carl Kostyal in Stockholm, David Risley Gallery in Copenhagen and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Portland, Maine. Moreover, his work has been shown at MoMA PS1 and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2012, Da Corte was named a Pew Fellow in the Arts by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Philadelphia. For more about him see: http://alexdacorte.com/

Ed Atkins (b. 1982) is a British artist whose oeuvre consists largely of photography and digital videos in which he incorporates computer generated characters – CGI avatars – and scenes as a means to explore the ways in which digital forms of representation can create new versions of reality. The avatar protagonist often delivers poetic soliloquies addressed to the viewer, which is symptomatic of the fact that Atkins’ video works often are derived from text and in particular poetry. Atkins has had solo exhibitions at prominent venues such as Tate Britain in London, MoMA PS1 in New York, Palais de Tokyo in Paris and Kunsthalle Zürich. In 2012 he performed the critically acclaimed ‘Depression’ at the Serpentine Memory Marathon. Atkins lives in London.

Alex Da Corte and Ed Atkins were interviewed by Christian Lund in connection to the Art Alive festival at Louisiana Museum of Art in Denmark in May 2016. In the video, extracts are shown from ‘Chelsea Hotel No. 2’ (2010) by Alex Da Corte and ‘Happy Birthday!!’ (2014) by Ed Atkins.

Camera: Klaus Elmer and Simon Weyhe
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015

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