Alex Cecchetti

Time-Based Art Festival (TBA)
15 NE Hancock St, Suite 300
September 7, 2012–September 29, 2012

Alex Cecchetti, Summer Is Not the Prize of Winter, 2012. Performance view.

Alex Cecchetti’s “relay performance” Summer Is Not the Prize of Winter, 2012, is a deeply satisfying meditation on the nature of existence and the capacity of language, image, and object to embody life’s most essential concerns. The Paris-based artist conducts this philosophical investigation through an interactive monologue with a group of participants in the gallery—one performance a day for the first eleven days of the exhibition. Cecchetti began by conducting three performances, which established the work’s narrative arc, and then he handed the process over to local artists and writers. Each of the four successive performers shadows his or her predecessor to create continuity; all of them are entrusted with the task of remembering and transferring the same reflections and lines of inquiry.

The handmade and found objects lying around the room or propped against the walls accumulate as they are sited or created during each performance. Some of the most striking are little groups of fresh apples and homemade “arrows” fashioned during a discussion of symbolism and temporality. Others include found rocks and various dishes filled with water and whiskey. These objects become anthropological artifacts of the temporary community catalyzed by Cecchetti’s engaging mind.

The shared experience of Summer Is Not the Prize of Winter is appropriately uncomfortable, but not because one fears the humiliation of being put on the spot. Cecchetti creates an environment of empathetic pathos and intimacy that values human connection. During the first few days of the performance, he meandered among the participants, drawing them close, lying on his back to muse, or enlisting volunteers to perform simple gestures—such as writing letterforms on the wall with blackberries while he discussed the philosophical nature of walking as “controlled falling.” The arrangement of bodies in the room shifted constantly as Cecchetti’s poetic language enigmatically bound the participants and the objects together through ritualized forms of communication.

— Stephanie Snyder