Sunday, February 21, 2010

The dark side of satire.

My first impressions of the word caricature is a humorous work of art, but I am finding that satire certainly (and historically) comes from a much darker place. Where I expect a humorous buffooning of character I am finding the “chaotic, contradictory, ambiguous, negative, often nightmarish and hysterical” (pg. 142) qualities surrounding works by Hogarth, Gillray’s image of cannibalism, etchings of a man holding a head on a dagger, skewered babies, and general misery. While understanding that these works were created in a time of great political upheaval, I started looking for modern day works that have a similarly grotesque and chilling effect. Kris Kuksi works are made of discarded items, mostly children’s toys and mechanical bits and pieces. Though contemporary, his works are sculpted in a way that is reminiscent of gothic architecture, with their many spires and their skeletal structures, he has also adopted a somber color palette similar to the stone once used in those buildings. There is something in the line and color of the work that reminds me of the etchings we have studied, obsessively made and packed full of detail, making it a dizzying attempt to take all of the information in. Similarly his works comment on war, new philosophies, consumerism, as well as the corruption and de-moralization within our society. Kris Kuksi brings “old world” grotesque to today.

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