Friday, October 14, 2011

Not Vital ( art now )

Not Vital has worked with Venetian glass blowers in Murano, Tuareg silversmith tribesmen in Niger, papermakers in Bhutan.

Not Vital (which is a moniker I'd give my left arm for) excels in moving material, – metal, plaster, fiberglass, tea, coal, animal remains, melted pink Camay soap –from their base reality towards a kind of sublime abstraction. The abstraction in the Diao Su show is profound because it is achieved through a long, rigorous and exacting process ( Not Vital engaged the services of local Chinese stainless steel craftsmen to create pieces like "Tongue" ) and yet the end product is so flawlessly cold and perfectly reflective , the idea of exertion is belied. That iceberg of a tongue certainly looms in Thaddaeus Ropac's ground floor space as a stand out piece of the exhibit but Not Vital's ability to sublimate the idea of the raw and the organic into an ultra-refined art object travels throughout all of the judiciously selected pieces.
Not Vital has been spending five months per year working in his studio in the Caochangdi district of Beijing and in addition to producing these classic totemic pieces of sculpture has also been endeavoring , for the first time into painting. I had glimpsed those blurred,sensitive paintings which had the spiritual quality of lines captured by a seismograph while passing through the UCCA gallery earlier this year in Beijing. Seeing "Not Vital" -a show I wandered into by sheer coincidence while visiting the Self Service offices in the Marais - provided an epic bookend to those paintings. That mastery of those extremes of scale is what makes Not Vital all the more compelling and one of my great discoveries this year.
from the source indicated below
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