As a post-millennium Vênus de Willendorf, Alex Arcadia’s SuperGymnast’s breasts, belly and thighs are flawlessly taunt and smooth. The SuperGymnast is Arcadia’s primal goddess designed to reign over the BrightShinyFuture, his fully formed multi-media alternative universe. In our world, the SuperGymnast has been drawn on public surfaces as graffiti, hung around Arcadia’s neck and positioned in a place of pride atop his “Temple of Fame” at New York’s Stephen Stux Gallery. Here, Arcadia reveals her history, symbolic significance and future highlights.
AFH: How do the textures and shines of your sculpture relate to your conceptual concerns?
AA: This reminds me of the SNL skit where John Malkovich plays a SoCal “driftwood artist” appearing on a perky morning talk show as the new art-world darling. He’s sitting in the guest chair Indian style wearing mismatched Chuck Taylors, a tank top under an open flannel shirt (tied at the waist), tight long cut-off jean shorts, and his hair hastily pulled back in a ponytail. The overly enthusiastic hosts ask him the same question about the surface qualities of his sculptures; and he replies in a detached Cali-hipster tone, “I sand it… until it smooth… and I oil it… until it is dark. (long silent pause follows).
AFH: What follows the pause?
AA: Here at BSF it’s a function of reduction and an expression of essence. I found that a minimal representation of the form is one way in which the most vital quality of human existence, the spirit, can be expressed. In all of my sculpture, spirit values are what dictate surface quality. At this point the selection/location of the material(s), and execution of the object/image are purely perfunctory and automatic. Basically, the purest masterpieces are those with no inexpressive waste of forms, lines and colors, but where absolutely all expresses thought and soul. (long silent yawn follows)
AFH: How do the sculptures of the SuperGymnast differ from the drawings of her?
AA: The drawings came first. When I was 8 years old, ironically, the brightly painted lips, eyes, fingers and toes of the sexy strappy-heeled women my various uncles would bring by the house made me go ga-ga. And then, in second grade, W-Y happened. Some of the boys in the back of the class gathered around Ralph Bevilacqua’s desk as he showed us how to draw a “naked lady” using a rounded W for the breasts and below that a hard Y for the crotch. I’ve never really liked boys too much but it was such a revelation to me when he finally outlined the body’s curves with 2 quick “s” like squiggles. No arms, no legs, no head – just big boobs and a crotch. He then scribbled spirals of hair on the crotch AND breasts. Sure the juvenile boy in me sees the fun – but as the inter-dimensional being and mystic emerged later, I began to recall and identify with these things on a much higher vibrational frequency.
AFH: How did this form evolve into your adult art?
AA: Fast forward to when I was 22 years-old. It was the first week in my first NYC apartment. As I sat amusing myself by making phone doodles of naked woman. I’m an excellent draughtsman, but like any master, I’m not in the mood to struggle with detailed digits and facial features. So I handily truncated these areas with perfect ellipses and the SuperGymnast was born! I became obsessed and couldn’t stop drawing her. I knew right away this was my Mary – my modern day Woman of Willendorf. A power Goddess and an icon, who would become central to ARCADIA. The drawings of her were almost always 3/4 views and her lines were drawn in the same fluid order. I drew thousands of her all over Manhattan during the next few years. And in places no one else was hitting – like the white cross walk lines on the street at intersections. This quickly cemented the icon into the minds of millions forever. This was the era when the internet was still in Beta. This effectively maximizing my expertise in the art of provocative dissemination.
AFH: When did she become 3D?
AA: My first sculpture ever was of the SuperGymnast. They were small FIMO figures that I baked in my little apartment oven. I sold them for $20 each or gifted them for birthdays. People on the street and at parties always made the connection to the street tags. I was once cornered at an ATM machine by two frothing militant fems who recognized the figure hanging around my neck from the street tags, barking that I was responsible for the dehumaniztion of women! They didn’t wanna hear that she represented the second coming of the Matriarchal Hierarchy. So in this case the drawings of her served well for the dissemination of information. Whereas the sculpture confirmed it. But in the end, most people want to possess her – which is entirely impossible. Of course the drawings and sculpture later evolved into a much more sophisticated studio practice involving the use of sacred geometry.
AFH: Where does the SuperGymnast fit into your sculptural vision?
AA: She breathes compassion and whispers beauty in our eyes. She is a holy symbol and doesn’t ever fit into anything. She possesses my entire sculptural vision. She’s an exquisitely balanced creature composed of two triangles. These triangles superimposed show us a perfect star of David.
She is both phallus and vessel. Beauty and Beast. Axis Mundi, my latest BSF figure and sculpture series will be accompanied by a series of beautiful minimalist paintings made of finely ground glass we’re calling WHITESHINYFUTURE. This all comes from her alone.
AFH: What is the ideal material that you’d want in order to make the perfect Supergymnast?
AA: I wish not for gold, for in Her presence gold is but sand, and silver mire, I wish not for health or the Light, for She is enough.