It was the final week to view Kris Kuksi‘s ‘Revival’ and Riusuke Fukahori’s ‘The Painted Breath’ at Joshua Liner Gallery in NYC, and I had finally made my way down to the gallery to see these incredible works of art in person. Better late than never, as they say.
I had previously seen Kuksi’s ‘Triumph’ at Joshua Liner’s former space almost two years prior, and knew I couldn’t miss seeing this new body of work. I had also seen several things written about Fukahori’s work and the process in which he patiently creates his three-dimensional looking paintings of goldfish; and I became even more psyched to see this show. Both artists’ processes in creating their art are equally fascinating and both very different.
Kuksi is an avid collector of models, toys, figurines, and other ornate oddities. He takes these found objects and intricately assembles them into scenes which are both beautiful and grotesque all at once. In most of his work, he starts with a geometric form and then adds layers upon layers of different elements – orchestrating them into a chaotic entanglement of plaster, plastic, and god knows what else. Customizing nearly every piece that is glued into place – I can only imagine how long some of these might take to accomplish. The totality of each piece draws on both the beauty of Renaissance sculpture and the detail of ornate Gothic and Rococo architecture. Kuksi’s work touches on many qualities of the human condition: violence, war, religion, self-destruction, evolution, sex, chaos, pride, tranquility, and toilet humor – there’s really something for everyone. While the overall imagery in most of his work appears macabre and post-apocalyptic, you can often times find hidden humorous elements peppered amongst the ruins and landscapes; which I think really shows Kris is having fun and loves what he is creating.
Further down the gallery walls, a giant canvas with a bright orange goldfish painted on it welcomes us to the back half of Liner’s exhibition. Stepping into this half of the gallery, I imagine Riusuke Fukahori to have the patience of a Buddhist monk. He uses layers of resin and paint to build up an image and give it a three-dimensional appearance. When I first saw his work online, I thought they were photos of goldfish… and then I read on. After a layer of resin is dried, he paints a portion of the fish, and repeats this several times until the fish look good enough to eat. Resin is poured… underfins are painted… more resin… body and head appear… resin… more body details appear… resin… scales are added… you get the idea. This whole process can take him months to complete a relatively small piece. By the time he is finished, you would swear you’re looking at a real-live-fish in water.
The photos I’m sharing here can only give you a keyhole perspective of the works presented in this show. From them, you can get the idea, but all these need to be seen in person to really do them justice. When you examine these from all angles in physical space, you will be left in amazement and soon be skeptical of what is real.