The Whimsical & Wonderful Intricate Sculptures of Kris Kuksi

 

 

 

Tabby Tyrant, 2021 Mixed media assemblage 31 x 31 x 9 inches / 78.7 x 78.7 x 22.9 cm, $35,000

Joshua Liner Gallery has made available new wall sculptures by the artist Kris Kuksi. In his practice, Kris Kuksi juxtaposes Baroque and Rococo design principles with the rigidity of the industrial landscape and classical architecture, to explore religion, culture, war, industry, and death.

General Heinrich von Howitzerhead, 2009 Mixed media assemblage 40 x 23 x 12 inches / 101.6 x 58.4 x 30.5 cm, $32,000

To create these intricate assemblages, Kuksi sources model kits, jewelry remnants, figurines, and kitsch statuary from all over the world, meticulously arranging them into complex, multilayered compositions. The artist often alters these mass-produced objects by fusing them together to make anachronistic figures. It is not uncommon to discover mechanized humans or Roman Generals wearing gas masks. After securing all the pieces, Kuksi unifies the hundreds of disparate components together by adding layers of paint to achieve a weathered patina.

When encountering Kuksi’s frieze-like wall sculptures from a distance, the work resembles architectural ornamentation from the Belle Époque, characterized by decorative frills and ornamental beauty. On closer inspection, however, individual narratives emerge from each sprawling work, revealing what the artist describes as “historical narratives, biblical subjects, animal worship, architecture, symbolic views on commerce and development, as well as human psychology and behavior.” It is the combination of Kuksi’s elegant forms with macabre themes which allows his work to be at once peaceful and violent, beautiful and grotesque.

Kuksi’s micro and macro dimensions unfold into a boundless world of infinite narratives, carrying the familiarity of history, with elements collected from discordant paths and different moments in time. The extreme density and multiplicity in the artist’s assemblages not only reward close looking; it makes the viewer just as much a part of the artwork as the characters who inhabit these fantastic and otherworldly landscapes.

Kris Kuksi’s wall sculptures often feature god-like figures who transcend disorder and turmoil. These deities often appear unfazed by the chaos that plays out between the smaller, less dominant figures because they are literally and figuratively beneath them.

Tabby Tyrant (detail)

In his newest mixed media assemblage, Tabby Tyrant, Kuksi brings this concept into the animal realm with this depiction of a tyrannical cat. Set inside an opulent palace or royal court, this feline presides over human and animal subjects. A winged soldier kneels before the bejeweled cat, presenting her with a mouse on a platter, while tiny guards tie up a girl on the right. Even other animals are not safe under the cat’s cruel and oppressive rule, illustrated by the restrained Komodo dragon and collard dogs.

General Heinrich von Howitzerhead highlights Kris Kuksi’s impressive ability to seamlessly fuse incongruent elements and make them appear as though they have always belonged together. For this assemblage, the artist merges a facsimile of sculptor, Jean-Antoine Houdon’s 1789 bust of Thomas Jefferson with a Soviet T-34 tank, first introduced in 1940 during World War II. By replacing the Founding Father’s head with a tank, the artist suggests that the Military–industrial complex is ingrained in American history. The miniature soldiers with howitzer heads function as cogs, operating the General’s tank, keeping the cycle of destruction in motion.

To inquire about Kuksi’s new works please email sales@joshualinergallery.com

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