Not Vital at SCHAUWERK Sindelfingen

28 / 04 / 2012

The works shown in this exhibition are extremely diverse in design and thus testify to the artist’s creative range. Alongside absolute rigour, one finds strange and bizarre-looking objects such as bronze casts of camel’s heads on long poles or a deer whose ear has been replaced by a fish plate. An approach to Vital’s worked based entirely on viewing the works will often be rooted in the descriptive. Knowing the artist’s history can help breathe life into the works.

Not Vital’s oeuvre reflects his nomadic life, with homes in Agadez, Lucca, and Beijing, as well as the memories of numerous journeys. Not Vital is no tourist in these places; he lives there with the people and leaves behind traces by building a house or a school, combining his commitment to social causes with his work as an artist. With all his senses he absorbs life in its totality and transforms his experiences into artifacts that the viewer encounters as works of art: paintings, installations, and sculptures.

The artist’s work is also very much influenced by his powerful connection to the nature and culture of his homeland in the Lower Engadine Valley. Because they take up and combine motifs of varied origin, Vital’s works often have multiple meanings. But the author is not interested in the strange or the surreal for its own sake. In his works one senses the closeness to nature, to human and animal existence. As so often in art, it is about life but also about death as a part of life.

Vital’s art sublates antitheses. There are heights and depths, the serious and the playful, the existential and the quotidian, the precious and the poor. This diversity of “tonal registers” is also mirrored in the manifold spectrum of materials and formal idioms. Their sensuousness plays an important role: a sled of white marble suggests palpable cold, for example. The materials have a strong presence and offer the full range of sensory perceptions. The selection of materials, the processes for working them, and the world of Not Vital’s motifs are all powerfully influenced by the traditions and possibilities of the countries in which he lives.