ALEXANDER VISCIO Six ways from Sunday makes for a full week
solo / vienna contemporary / booth G11
Location: vienna contemporary, Marx Halle, Karl-Farkas-Gasse 19, 1030 Vienna
Six ways from Sunday makes for a full week
How to play with words in visually perceptible object configurations is a recurrent theme in Alexander Viscio's conceptual artistic work. These constructions assume the most diverse forms within his oeuvre, initially forming a close connection with the body, then becoming like an installation, transcending beyond the body towards the object, only to turn the word into space.
In his artwork (a hexagonal object made in wood) created for Vienna contemporary Six ways from Sunday makes for a full week (2017/18), the artist's body gets enclosed by the object, almost merging into one unit with it. Six ways from Sunday makes for a full week will be the sixth edition of a continuous series of performative live installations called VAL / Vehicles for Another Landscape, first launched in 1999.
Viscio will enter the sculpture and traverse to each pod (6), using his body alone to rotate the object. The words "Six ways from Sunday makes for a full week" are cut into Braille in each side of the sculpture's 6 pods. These holes are reminiscent of the so-called “glory holes” in erotic peep shows and provide access into the object and what brings it to rotate. In fact they are the hand and foot holes for the artist to help navigate and allow minimum sight outside the sculpture.
A central moment in the oeuvre of Alexander Viscio consists in the poetic connection both in terms of image- and word-language, between the body and the object and the absurd playing with simple words pivoting around the transposition of puns and word fragments to a visual and performative layer, which is nurtured from a multi-medial formalistic vocabulary. Language is separated from its conventional reality and is re-contextualized into form.
Visitors come and go, observing his performance, chatting in between, be amused and fascinated, commenting on the spectacle, they have to give way to the rotating hexagonal sculpture, moving around it, finding somewhere in the fair-booth to linger. Viscio accentuates a subversive interplay of what we can see and cannot see and creates an unusual association between language, space, body and object. The object becomes an expression of communication, equipped with nonverbal language – until the end of the performance when the wooden object is left in the space.
With this VAL the reference is to the game of “Jacks” that include several small metal hexagonal objects 2cm sq. and a rubber ball. Viscio confiscates our childhood toys and safety devices and flips them into diabolical apparatus for devious fun.
Alexander Viscio was born in NY and got his Masters of Fine Art degree from Cal Arts in 1983 where he studied with John Baldessari, Doug Huebler and Sherry Levine. Throughout the 90’s the artist presented works for the “Hybrid Nights” at The Kitchen in NYC curated by Katherine Green. And after an invitation by the Bundeskanzleramt in 2000, he has sustained residency in Vienna while producing new work that launched the VAL series, Vehicles for Another Landscape. In order to advance this series the artist was looking for construction models he could use for his apparatus and while doing so, discovered the so called Dynasphere, a vehicle of transportation based on a model developed by Leonardo da Vinci, which was a source of sporty amusement throughout the 1930s: a case built like some sort of oversized wheel steered by a driver, which somehow resembled a human "hamster wheel".
The VALs sculptures are designed to accommodate the artist’s body as the propulsion system to move in almost maladroit fashion rousing alertness in the viewer or passers-by to the continual changes not only in the architectural dynamics of the work and its environment but their own perception of the space they share with it.
During the last six years, given his penchant for exploiting language to format his sculpture, Alexander’s work has expanded to include large-scale outdoor public sculpture as interactive/exhibition platforms. And with a major commission from the Federal Chancellery to represent Austria at the Centennial in Sarajevo, he built the outdoor sculpture O2S14, Outsourcing to Sarajevo 2014.
He is currently working with the International Cultural Forum in Beijing on a new outdoor sculpture in development called, “flipping”.