Kris Kuksi's obsessively-detailed sculptures look like fantastical Rococo worlds all to themselves. Populated with God and Goddess figures, leopards, nymphs, and dozens of small soldiers, his wall-based reliefs are filigreed and built up with tiny, interconnected architectural features like columns and balustrades. Taken together, the works look as if St. Peter’s Basilica, with all of its Bernini sculptures, had been blown apart and put back together again in miniature form. This is especially relevant considering his “churchtank” works, which combine towering cathedrals with armored tanks, such that the religious structures seem to have grown both a formidable set of armored wheels and a large-caliber gun pointing straight out of their nave. As collector Guillermo Del Toro exclaimed, “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 works depict almost entire civilizations constructing, or perhaps deconstructing, whole mini-cities. They hint at sweeping struggles of the human race, with strong undertones of larger-than-life dramas of love and war—as if the two were in perpetual battle. Kuksi admits as much, saying that the sculptures require “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.” Heady stuff, indeed! And perhaps a bit pessimistic as to what fate awaits homo sapiens. Nonetheless, the works are beautiful to behold, and exhibit a great technical skill not only in constructing such intricate landscapes, but also in the ways they hint at larger issues relating to our existence on this earth.