Uncivilized World - Interview
Kris Kuski's work is like a spacio-archeological trip, where frontage of cathedral, Balinese temple, Babylonian towers and ziggourats are ericted.
Heteroclite assembly of mythological Gods mixed with modern beliefs from western and eastern culture, with grotesque and grinning skeletons, and bold conquerers with fantastic machines background. Born in Springfiel (Missouri), Kris Kuski lived a solitary and introverted childhood and finds in his art the expression of his oneiric imagination. He stages architectural scenes depicting the rising and falling of past glorious civilizations.
Lover of small detail, master of the art of recycling (toys and various objects), he creates ludic constructions that echo our mortal condition , as we behave in spoiled half gods.
He benefits a growing reputation after a serie of expos (over 100) and with the interest of some seasoned collectors and a few prestigious museum.
Even tough we might be aware of our own demons and torments, we can perceive in Kris Kuksi's work the merry spark of a more radiant future world.
Lisa Shelley: In what degree are you influenced by mythology and fantasy in your work?
Kris Kuksi: Being influenced of course, and merely by that fact that humans throughout recorded history and before have invented Gods and religion and the act of worship. Fantasy I believe is interrelated to myths and legends in that there is hope of an idealized place or existence outside of common realities. In my views of these subjects there is an interest in how people borrow from older mythologies and religions. So what I like to do is take the next step and borrow from modern many various beliefs and twist them and perhaps defame them through satire and rebuke. But I don't take what I do too seriously nor do I wish my fans do either.
LS: Can we say antic baroque world, American exuberance or contemporary homerism?
KK: Yes, all of those plus more. I am intrigued by how far western culture has strayed from nature and the natural ways of being. Today is about what you have, your cell phone, your car, your house, and just looking good. It all seems so shallow in perspective, placing such importance in the material things as if that defines who you are. We all of course have to live by this to some degree, but let's at least be aware of it. The American culture has spread throughout the world and may very well be harmful if at least tarnishing.
LS: La Ziggourat, the mausoleum, is there an architect soul laying in your work?
KK: I'm sure there is, and I dream of someday designing my own
buildings/temple/house/coffins. The grand palaces of India and the major Gothic cathedrals of Europe stir my soul and I would gather in my many past lives I was an architect of either of these realms.
LS: Why a different feeling between your paintings and your sculptures?
KK: I love to go against the grain, and not do what the overall attitudes of what and artist should to do. Make strange over-saturated sculptures or photorealistic portraiture or even mildly hallucinogenic artworks all in one person?, why not. I have the knack for creating many forms of art and varied approaches to aesthetic sense.
LS: What type of material do you use and tell me about your recycling policy?
KK: Use what I can find to fulfill the objective means to create what my creativity wishes. If that includes mass-produced pop culture knick-knacks all cut, sanded, reshaped, or somehow distorted to fit the seam, then I will surely proceed. So with these materials, I turn it all around and make an original form of art grazed with enamel and acrylic solutions to add the final homogenous touch. Did you get that?
LS: Do you feel close to an artist like Almacan?
KK: I wasn't aware of his work until recently, I find it very interesting and very similar in the sort of 'building' technique I have but in the 2-d realm. But I enjoy the mood and essence of his work very much.
LS: Do you have film projects? There's a lot of staging in your work...
KK: Many film projects rattling in my head...and I will pursue it someday soon.
LS: What type of music do you like?
KK: Everything from Electronic to African to Bluegrass. Never ever anything in the top 40, that is for the majority of mediocre tastes out there.
LS: What fascinates you?
KK: Human psychology and behavior, sociology, the unexplained, UFO's, and whatever else out of the ordinary. I like to think of our knowledge as this: for what we do know there will always be an equal amount of what we don't know.
And it is a great experience to discover new truths and realities, because in the coming decades there are a lot of things all of us are going to have to face.
LS: What are your upcoming projects? Exhibitions?
KK: A feature at Scope Basel here in June, and a few major solo shows on the horizon in the next couple of years.
Kuksi and David