Tongue, 2008. Stainless steel, 788 x 166 x 166 cm.

Not Vital’s Recent Sculpture: Forms That Speak Through One Another

Like much post-conceptual art, a new group of works by the nomadic, Italian-born Not Vital rejects explicit interpretation in favor of an open approach to meaning. These sculptures, which recall landscapes, animals, and body fragments, exist in a half-familiar, but distorted world beyond the everyday. They employ various materials, ranging from coal and plaster to marble and stainless steel, and, in one case, 18-karat gold (used in Peking Duck, a work unexpectedly suspended in the room-size freight elevator at Sperone Westwater). Produced in China, where Vital has traveled extensively since 2008, these works were then shipped to New York in early 2012 for “? ?,” an exhibition identified by the Chinese ideogram for the number 15. The exact significance of the number remains obscure (the official number of works in the show was 18, though some viewers counted 15). It may pay homage to the Chinese roots of the work in terms of materials, techniques, and philosophical bent. Or perhaps the sign represents some kind of post-structural linguistic parallel that coincides with absence or cancellation of meaning.…see the entire article in the print version of April’s Sculpture magazine.