Vito Acconci (Nueva York, 1941-2017) began his artistic career as a poet in the mid-1960s. In his first pieces, he treated the blank page as a space where he could act, using words as material for movement and the page as a container. His works were poetic acts using various ingredients and materials like cassettes, walls or the chairs in a room. Later on, his poetic actions moved from paper to gallery space, evolving into performances in which Acconci reflected on his own physical and psychological being.
Both in his performances and his installations from the beginning of the 1970s, the figure of the artist always had a physical presence, either through films or recordings of his voice, whose sound afforded the visitor a very intense sensorial experience. Acconci proposed a new definition of the physical object and a space of shared experience between the viewer and the artist by disposing of the traditional borders between an artist and his public, an object and a temporal event, a work of art and its existence within a spacial and/or social context.
Little by little, after a period creating numerous installations in interior spaces (usually galleries or museums), his interest in spaces turned towards public spaces. In 1988 he formed the Acconci Studio, a work cell which brought architects together with artists whose work was developing in an architectural scale, and who envisaged environmental and architectural kinds of interventions. The power of the Acconci Studio’s projects – where the artist remains committed to language, the body and his relationship with the space – consists of a dramatically rethinking what defines public space, and questioning our way of seeing it and using it.