Born 1978 in Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Lives in New York, NY
In his site-specific performance for the 2014 Biennial, Diego Leclery plays the seminal video game Civilization all day, every day, for the run of the exhibition. First issued in 1991 as Sid Meier’s Civilization(and currently on its fifth release), the classic game tasks players with the development of a civilization, from the founding of its capital city to eventual world domination, or else face defeat at the hands of its enemies and their allies.
Leclery sees the experience of being a post-studio artist in New York in equally black-and-white, win-or-lose terms. Victory means making a living from art, a collapse of art and life that would redefine all Leclery’s time as “making-art.” But as long as he continues to depend on other sources of income, certain parts of his life remain, by his definition, “not-making-art.” Participating in the Whitney Biennial, an exhibition known for raising the profile of invited artists, presents Leclery with a potential opportunity to eliminate all areas of “not-making-art” from his life: if the performance is a success, it will garner him the attention and subsequent prospects that will allow him to become a full-time artist, or else he may face defeat at the hands of critics and audiences.
Diego Leclery’s work is on view in the Museum’s Sculpture Court.