Akeroyd Collection


Alex Da Corte, Chelsea Hotel No 2, 2010

Leonard Cohen’s 1974 song Chelsea Hotel #2 gives Alex Da Corte’s 2010 video its title and informs the work's duration. Filmed on a mobile phone, random objects and foodstuffs are held aloft in front of a white backdrop that sets off the vibrant colours of the materials presented. The artist's hands are visible, sometimes accompanied by another unknown pair of hands that hold grapes for the artist to paint or held together for the artist to bind in parcel tape. Da Corte’s hands, however, are always covered in flour and other residues – ground coffee, or sequins. They enter and exit the frame to manipulate the objects that range from bananas to soap dishes, stacks of white bread to broken chairs, lettuce heads to laundry baskets. Flowers to bubble wrap. Often, an action is enacted upon these disparate objects; a slice of ham is cut with scissors, a banana is pierced and torn with a gold hoop earring, an inflated bag is emptied of air, soda is diluted with food colouring.

Da Corte has alluded to a moment in his life that led to this work. His car had been stolen with most of his possessions inside, and he needed to replace the essentials by shopping in a large supermarket. These cheap objects would become the material of the video and would speak to ideas of loss, desire, upheaval, doubt and sadness with a kind of pathos and sensitivity mirrored by the words and music of Leonard Cohen’s song. As Cohen sings the line, ‘I need you…. I don’t need you,’ the pieces of Da Corte’s life are simultaneously lamented and reassembled. From the wreckages of loss, a sense of hope emerges. Through the duration of the song, we sense from Da Corte that to embrace the future, one must let go of the past, and in these objects, we may learn something about the self on that journey.

Mediumdigital video (colour & sound), CRT monitor, hardware, birch, laminate
Duration3 minutes 4 seconds
Editionof 5 + 2 APs