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Prada presents “Rubber Pencil Devil”, a site-specific intervention by artist Alex Da Corte, with the support of Fondazione Prada. The project will be on view from 13 November 2020 to 24 January 2021 in the premises of Prada Rong Zhai, a 1918 historical residence in Shanghai restored by Prada and reopened in October 2017.

“Rubber Pencil Devil” is a new exhibition format of the video work of the same name realized by Da Corte in 2018. The film featuring 57 chapters will be screened on 20 large rear-projection multi-colored video cubes installed throughout Prada Rong Zhai two main floors, giving a new spatial configuration to his acclaimed artwork.

Rubber Pencil Devil is a looping, two-hour-40-minute stream of highly stylized videos inspired by a wide range of cultural sources from vintage television imaginary to 20th-century animation, from queer iconography to pop culture. Da Corte’s artwork functions as a hypnotically slow choreography performed by 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 from television and cartoons.

According to Alex Da Corte, “Rubber Pencil Devil” is a “Gesamtkunstwerk”, a total work of art. This immersive experience combining video, music and architecture is rich in allusions to avant-garde visual artists, experimental writers, pop singers, show-biz personalities and cartoon characters. For the spaces of Prada Rong Zhai Da Corte 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.

Manipulating and repurposing consumer culture and art history, Da Corte explores themes of alienation and human desire with a subversive humour and a psychological introspection. His intellectually provocative, exuberant and absurd fantasies not only provide a critical take on contemporary reality, but also try to “reimagine normative systems of power” and to create “new ideas and new beginnings”.

Image: Alex Da Corte, photo by Constance Mensh; Alex Da Corte, Rubber Pencil Devil stills, 2018. Image credit: © Alex Da Corte, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.

Prada Rong Zhai

No. 186 North Shaan Xi Road

Jing’an District, Shanghai, China


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