Kris Kuksi is an artist who almost redefines the word intricacy, and does so recycling toys, figurines, mechanical parts and other thrown away objects and discarded detritus. Like a maestro modelist who’s dabbled with too many mild-altering substances, Kuksi has an outlandish attention to detail, and as such is able to create surreal and macabre worlds, the bizarre quality of which is haunting – even hallucinatory.
A Tribute to the Madness of Beethoven
To some, Kuksi’s work evokes ancient-looking stonework brought to life, perhaps, under the chisel of a master artisan; to others his unearthly creations appear almost frozen in time. To us, this is palpably outsider art, the painstaking handiwork of one who feels alienated from the world he has found himself inhabiting. It's no surprise to learn that Kuksi leads a completely nocturnal lifestyle.
“I feel that in the world today much of mankind is oftentimes a frivolous and fragile being driven primarily by greed and materialism,” the artist states. “I hope that my art exposes the fallacies of Man, unveiling a new level of awareness to the viewer.”
Churchtank Type 7C
Undoubtedly, modern materialism sprang from the seeds of industrialism, so it's interesting that Kuksi should be "inspired by the industrial world, all the rigidity of machinery, the network of pipes, wires, refineries, etc. Then I join that with an opposite of flowing graceful, harmonious, and pleasing design of the Baroque and Rococo”.
Such incongruous stylistic juxtapositions are mirrored in the mishmash of the materials Kuksi uses, “pop culture effluvia like plastic model kits, injection moulded toys, dolls, plastic skulls, knick-knack figurines, miniature fencing, toy animals, mechanical parts and ornate frames or furniture parts.”
Antics and Mechanical Frolic
The fact that it is toys specifically that Kuksi recycles is hard to ignore. He experienced a difficult upbringing characterised by “seclusion” and “isolation”, where “open country, sparse trees, and later alcoholic stepfathers, perhaps paved the way for an individual saturated in imagination and introversion.” Innocence lost likely made the material trappings of a child soon lose their lustre.
Sub-Sonic Dissidence Propulsion Device
In his art, in his adulthood, fantasy became a new reality; the grotesque, beautiful. Steampunk is one genre many of his pieces seem to fit into; the artist himself has likened his work to “an explosion in Hieronymus Bosch’s attic.”
The Beast of Babylon
And if his sculptures seem out of time, almost petrified, it’s because their 3D textures spurn the depthless character of mainstream American culture, in favour of a more timeless – and entirely other – world.
Caravan Assault Apparatus
Kris Kuksi’s works have been featured in numerous exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world including the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. You can visit his website here.
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