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Alex Da Corte: Rubber Pencil Devil at Prada Rong Zhai, Shanghai, through January 17, 2021

“Conceived in 2018, ‘Rubber Pencil Devil’ is a video work composed by 57 chapters and a prologue. In Rong Zhai the work is presented by the artist in a site-specific exhibition format featuring 51 of the 57 acts on 19 large rear-pro-jection multi-colored video cubes displayed in the two main floors of the building, giving a new spatial configuration to the artwork according to the new venue.

‘Rubber Pencil Devil’ is a looping, two-hour-40-minute stream of highly stylized videos inspired by a wide range of iconographical and cultural sources from vintage television imagery to 20th-century animation, from queer icons to campy Americana. Da Corte’s artwork functions as a hypnotically slow choreography performed by popular and recognizable figures. They are immersed in an over-sized and over-saturated universe composed of everyday objects, domestic symbols and familiar codes. One of ‘Rubber Pencil Devil’ performers is the artist himself, who mutates into various food puppets and iconic characters such as Pink Panther, Sylvester the Cat, Mister Rogers and the devil.

According to Da Corte, ‘Rubber Pencil Devil’ is a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, a total work of art, an immersive experience combining video, music and architecture, rich in allusions to avantgarde visual artists, experimental writers, pop singers, show-biz personalities and cartoon characters. For the spaces of Prada Rong Zhai Da Corte has conceived a fragmentary and vividly-hued display, a kaleidoscopic and dream-like journey in which his wish ‘of pushing beyond an image or breaking through the screen and actually touching the thing on-screen’ can be fulfilled.” — Prada Rong Zhai

Exhibition views of “Rubber Pencil Devil” by Alex Da Corte, Prada Rong Zhai, November 13, 2020 – January 17, 2021. Photos: Alessandro Wang. Courtesy Prada.

“Rubber Pencil Devil” is a site-specific intervention by American artist Alex Da Corte with the support of Fondazione Prada. The project is on view in Prada Rong Zhai, a 1918 historical residence in Shanghai restored by Prada and reopened in October 2017.

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