Plucked from ordinary life, the items used to create artist Kris Kuksi‘s surreal assemblages are transformed into high art. Since 2004, the American artist has focused on his sculptures, each tinged with a slightly Gothic, dark feel. Using railway model kits, figurines, jewelry, wedding cake parts, wood trim, resin, rocks, and other found materials, he slowly builds up each piece. The end results are fascinating, both as a whole and in detail.
Influenced by the classical world, Kuksi lovingly crafts each piece over the course of months—often years. Sometimes, his pieces have an overt nod to the past, such as his piece Nike, which incorporates a miniature of the famous Nike of Samothrace sculpture. Often, it’s the small architectural components and details that build up a nostalgic, vintage feel to the work, which borders on the surreal.
“I dream in the classical worlds. I’m drawn to it, I can’t get enough of it, and I just want to bring it all together into an art form,” Kuksi tells My Modern Met. “Re-live classical ideas and subjects and remix it. Life for me in the studio is all a remix of the ancient, antique, and vintage realms into the modern edge.” Working out of a 19th-century church in Kansas, Kuksi is surrounded by the history that he incorporates into his work.
Now, galleries patiently wait for these contemporary assemblages. Kuksi lets go of each with difficulty—the thousands of pieces making up the unified whole represent the innumerable hours spent and decisions made to complete the sculpture. Ornate and grand, the showstopping sculptures can be viewed in detail in Kuksi’s book Conquest, which contains over 200 color reproductions and details of his breathtaking work.