The talented Alex da Corte (who was born in New Jersey and lived Caracas, Venezuela for some of his childhood) says that his stunning new show "Delirium I" is an adaptation of "A Season in Hell"—a poem written by Arthur Rimbaud, a fascinating mid-19th century French poet who wrote prolifically in his teens and stopped entirely when he turned 21 years old.
Da Corte's delirious installation—now on show at Copenhagen's David Risley Gallery—is bright, striking and overwhelming. He says, “The stage sets are comprised of quilts, photographs, perfumes, plastic tiles, and sculptures. It is the fifth installment of an ongoing series of work created in relation to 'A Season in Hell.'”
The poem was written when Rimbaud was just 18, after a tempestuous affair with his contemporary Paul Verlaine. The poem has served as inspiration for artists for over a century, and has been published alongside the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe.
The final line can be translated as "a strange household"—perhaps especially apt when exploring this exhibition—and da Corte's version of hell re-imagines this strange and disorienting space Rimbaud described. As visitors enter, they are greeted by the smell of Calvin Klein’s "Obsession," vivid colors battling with one another and a mirrored floor reflecting back the abyss. Although the room itself threatens to upstage the individual works, beyond the visual chaos are pieces that are smart and unexpected. The stories told through imagery, scent and intriguing history join forces for an experience that is quite other-worldly.
"Delirium I" is currently on show at David Risley Gallery (Bredgade 65 1260, København K, Denmark) until 28 June.
Images courtesy of Alex da Corte