Not Vital was born in Sent, Switzerland in 1948. He studied in Paris and Rome before moving to New York in 1974. Currently Vital divides his time living and working between Switzerland, Niger, Chile, and Brazil. He is best known for being one of the leading sculptors in the world today, though he is also a painter, designer and architect. Vital finds his influence in travel and nature, and as such his work is often directly related to where it is created and displayed.
With its motifs of snow, ice, and casts of animals, Vital’s oeuvre is surrealistic and culturally ambivalent, frequently taking familiar material out of context. His work is at once emotionally charged and simplistic, communicating his underlying ideas through the use of a pure color palette and unusual materials. He has used a variety of materials for both his sculpture and works on paper, including marble, silver, coffee grounds, sticky tape, dental floss and even conductors batons to direct symphonies onto stone. By distorting and juxtaposing his subjects and materials, he is able to reveal new meaning in seemingly conventional ideas.
Vital’s work is included in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Massachusetts; the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Museo Cantonale d’Arte, Switzerland among others. Vital’s work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the Ullens Centre of Contemporary Art, Beijing; Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria; Kunsthalle Wien, Austria; The Arts Club of Chicago; Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany; and the 49th Venice Biennale.