Alex Villar was born in Brazil 1962, resides in New York. Working between performance, video, and photography, Villar poetically and humorously explores the hidden sites of power and spaces of survival in contemporary life. He has been featured in exhibitions in the New Museum, Mass MoCA, Drawing Center, The Menil Collection, Exit Art, Art in General, Apexart, Dorsky Gallery, Museu de Arte Moderna, Paço Imperial, Funarte, the Institute of International Visual Arts, Whitworth Art Gallery, Hansberg/Woolf Gallery, the Göteborg Konstmuseum, Signal, Mediations Biennale, Galeria Arsenal, Marco Museum, Halle fur Kunst, Beirut Art Center, and Zendai Moma. Villar studied at Hunter College, the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, Hélio Alonso College, and Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage, and he has received grants from The Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Danish Arts Council, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Drawing from interdisciplinary theoretical sources and employing video-based, performative actions, installation and photography, I have developed a practice that focuses on the intersection of processes of subjectification and the actual spaces of everyday life. My interventions are done primarily in public spaces. They consist in engaging situations where the codes that regulate the daily usage of the public spaces of the city can be made explicit. The body is often made to conform to the limitations of claustrophobic spaces, therefore accentuating arbitrary boundaries and possibly subverting them. A sense of absurdity permeates the work, counterpoising irrational behavior to the instrumental logic of the city’s design.
Theoretical ideas informing my work include a number of texts on the problematic of space. Particularly relevant is the work of Michel Foucault on panopticism and heterotopic space, but also Michel de Certau's work on the rewriting of the spatial text through common usage. Aesthetic traditions foregrounding my work range from the sixties and seventies performative-based sculpture and installations by Helio Oiticica, Ligia Clark and Cildo Meirelles to the urban strategies of the Situationists and the anarchitecture of Gordon Matta-Clark. Like the in-between activities it seeks to investigate, my work lives between various fields: part nomadic architecture, part intangible sculpture and part performance without spectacle.