Vito Acconci
The FACT, April 22nd - June 12th

Reviewed by Josephine Raven

Currently on display at FACT is the work of New York based Vito Acconci, performance artist, poet, writer and architect. Divided in to three categories Self, Sound and City his work spans over two gallery spaces, and into the media lounge. This extensive display allows us to explore the breadth of Acconci’s career, showing the progression of his artistic practice and in particular the development of his principal interest ‘in the human body and its relationship to public space.’

Gallery 1 contains a multitude of conceptual, performance-based film and video works, original documents and photographs from Acconci’s archives of 1969-1973 addressing key issues of the ‘artist and viewer, body and self, public and private, subject and object.’ I found this space quite intense, with an overwhelming number of elements to digest and consider. Original notes and transcripts cover any available wall space, interspersed with a selection of video sequences. Three big screens mounted above head height display the artist engaging with his own body, each representing part of the artists’ investigation of issues concerning gender and the body. My favourite piece involved Acconci lying on the floor chain smoking, playing music and talking to ‘me’ the viewer as if I am a lover being ardently pursued. I also liked the juxtaposition of videos Remote Control.

Leading you up the stairs to Gallery 2 is an introduction to Acconci’s more recent work. Here we can trace his development during the 1980s, with a movement away from the body and an increased interest in furniture, architecture, public art and space. Gallery 2 contains three films demonstrating the architecture and public realm projects currently being carried out through the Acconci Studio in New York. The work ranges from amazing wave designs for a subway bridge, innovative plans for a department store with circular rotating shelves and a totally original idea for a courtyard with braided meandering structures.

Finally the Media Lounge adds an interactive element, providing the audience with an opportunity to create their own compositions from a selection of Acconci’s audio works and a range of other audio samples.

This exhibition gives a considerable insight into the career of this intriguing and versatile artist, although I feel I would have to visit the gallery a number of times order to fully appreciate the depth and significance of the work on display.

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