You've seen the Churchtank. Everyone's seen the Churchtank. It made its social media rounds a few months ago, and knocked me off my pins, as it was the perfect combination of ungodly (pardon the pun) talent and biting sociopolitical commentary in a post-NeoCon age. I had no idea the Churchtank was birthed by Kris Kuksi.
Prior to this - in November of 2010, back when I was old and this blog was young, and I was still posting more about the cosmic side of "cosmic horror" rather than annoying the TC readership with self serving writing updates (also know as "The Golden Age of The Cosmicomicon" to many disgruntled head shakers) - I ripped a piece of art from the 'net to use in a blog about dark matter and finally being able to see the Universe as it really is and was. The work that I included was a wide shot of what you see below, and even though I attributed it to the the artist, I still had no idea who or what Kris Kuksi was all about.
Well, I now know who Kris Kuksi is and what this guy does, thanks to Ives, who had her mind blown last week, and then blew mine (an official call to kindly keep your mind out of the gutter, pervos) when I got home. This is Hieronymus Bosch meets Steampunk meets The End of Everything. This is gathered object, mixed material sculpture on a scale I never thought possible. Sci-fi hellscapes conjured by the worst acid trip of all time, built in Ed Gein's living room. This is waking Nightmare personified, with a enlightened lesson on human nature, politics, and religion (and the unhealthy alliance of the three) folded inside. This is horror and majesty at its most vivid and visceral.
And because now I know, I want all of YOU to know, as I was always taught to share. So, behold, the monstrous, terrifying, beautiful, extraordinarily badass sculptural art of Mr. Kris Kuksi.
Because I'm a slacker, and more importantly a lad who knows his place in the pecking order in the Dark Fantasy Collective, I'll let a better known Name write this sucker for me:
“A post-industrial Rococo master, Kris Kuksi obsessively arranges characters and architecture in asymmetric compositions with an exquisite sense of drama. Instead of stones and shells he uses screaming plastic soldiers, miniature engine blocks, towering spires and assorted debris to form his landscapes.
The political, spiritual and material conflict within these shrines is enacted under the calm gaze of remote deities and august statuary. Kuksi manages to evoke, at once, a sanctum and a mausoleum for our suffocated spirit.” - Guillermo del Toro
Born March 2, 1973, in Springfield Missouri and growing up in neighboring Kansas, Kris spent his youth in rural seclusion and isolation along with a blue-collar, working mother, two significantly older brothers, and an absent father. Open country, sparse trees, and alcoholic stepfather, all paving the way for an individual saturated in imagination and introversion. His propensity for the unusual has been a constant since childhood, a lifelong fascination that lent itself to his macabre art later in life. The grotesque to him, as it seemed, was beautiful.
Kris Kuksi garners recognition and acclaim for the intricate sculptures that result from his unique and meticulous technique. A process that requires countless hours to assemble, collect, manipulate, cut, and re-shape thousands of individual parts, finally uniting them into an orchestral-like seamless cohesion that defines the historical rise and fall of civilization and envisions the possible future(s) of humanity. Each sculpture embodies the trademarks of his philosophy and practice, while serving as a testament to the multifaceted nature of perception – From timeless iconic references of Gods and Goddess, to challenging ideas of organized religion and morality, to the struggle to understand, and bend, the limits of mortality. None is complete without a final and brilliant touch of satire and rebuke all conceived in the aesthetic essence of the Baroque fused with the modern day industrial world.
In personal reflection, Kris feels that in the world today much of mankind is oftentimes frivolous and fragile, being driven primarily by greed and materialism. He hopes that his art exposes the fallacies of Man, unveiling a new level of awareness to the viewer. His work has received several awards and prizes and has been featured in over 100 exhibitions in galleries and museums worldwide including the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Kris’ art can also be seen in a number of international art magazines, book covers and theatrical posters. Kris’ art is featured in both public and private collections in the United States, Europe, and Australia that include individuals such as Mark Parker (Nike CEO), Kay Alden (three time Emmy award winning writer for Young and the Restless & Bold and the Beautiful), Fred Durst (musician, and film director), Chris Weitz (movie director The Golden Compass & Twilight: New Moon) Guillermo del Toro (movie director Pan’s Labyrinth & Hell Boy 2) and Robin Williams (Academy Award and Golden Globe winning actor).
As a staunch Lovecraftian, J.S. Bach Head, and part-time Purple Prosist, I worship at the sumptuous, fetid, overladen alter of Baroque and Rococo (as my triple adjective usage suggests). Naturally, Kuksi's explosive, densely packed art (which is more than just sculpture, but also paintings and drawings) scratches me right where I itch, from the inside out.
I hope, gentle reader, he provides a spiritual backscratcher to you as well.
|Kuksi, dwarfing us|