Alex da Corte and Ericka Beckman at Secession, Wien

American artist Alex Da Corte creates videos, sculptures, paintings, and immersive installations with a striking cinematic quality. The engagement with the complexity of human experience is central to his work, for instance when he explores and exposes questions of desire, sensuality, and alienation. The artist is interested in both the cultural and psychological qualities that the everyday objects he manipulates and repurposes possess, as well as in the suspense they radiate making space for a state of deception and illusion. Exploring the formal potential of artefacts of consumer culture, Da Corte twists their immediate affordance so they can unfold new symbolic power—now as sculptural objects in his videos and installations, for example. Evidently, colour and textures are used with great skill to affect viewers and the mood in which they experience the artist’s environments once they set foot in them.

Ericka Beckman’s films and videos focus on games and sport competitions and their rules and structures, featuring the underlying playing fields as an allegory for the development and maintenance of socio-cultural norms. In her exhibition Game Mechanics, Beckman presents the film installation You the Better (1983/2015) and her most recent film Tension Building (2016) as well as drawings.
You the Better is one of Beckman’s early films, which are generally structured like games, developing their narrative out of themes such as accumulation, competition, and the organization of thoughts and memories by means of rules, symbols, and symbolic thinking. The film shows a team of uniformed players enacting the mechanics of a game of chance that generates points with the imperturbability of a machine. The protagonists, who cannot affect or predict its outcome, are not actors but act as players. They are spurred on by a song whose hysterical driving beat redoubles the implicit pressure to “perform,” in the economic and competitive sense of the word.

 

Game Mechanics by Ericka Beckman
Slow Graffiti by Alex da Corte
Secession, Wien
Through September 3