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  Kakudji  (20/21st century)

About: Kakudji


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Lived/Active: New York / France      Known for: multi-media painting, collage

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BIOGRAPHY for Kakudji
New York / France

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multi-media painting, collage

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Kakudji was born in Congo; lived in Congo, Rwanda, and Zambia, and then grew up in New York City since the age of 6.   He is an American citizen and lives in New York City and Paris, France.

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Best described as “anti-art”, Kakudji's specialty is a carefully constructed multimedia hybrid practice that disturbs, amuses and then splinters in the mind.  His technique involves appropriation, and he pilfers freely from the vast image bank of popular culture to create works that critique a quintessentially late capitalist sensibility.

His collaged images - of violence, humiliation, cruelty and political indifference - are delivered with a raw, often uncouth aesthetic that suggests a suspicion of overproduction and unsettles assumptions about art, originality and value, class and sexual difference and creativity.

The more persistent themes of the work are the objectification and sexual violation of women, racial prejudice, economic repression and the slippery way that things that aren’t exactly objects – such as images and sex – get valued.  Not new themes in art, for sure, but unlike the similarly-violated imagery of contemporary artists such as Kendell Geers or Richard Prince - Kakudji’s work doesn’t evoke a romance with sadism.  Rather his use of the ostensibly-pornographic uncovers the brutality implicit in sexual violence and racial prejudice, a brutality which art, like society, all too often prefers to suppress or eroticise. Although also often decidedly funny, Kakudji’s iconography is not intended to occupy a place of distant parody.  When his work includes humour, as it often does, it is a function of an anxious necessity, not the product of a cynical posture.

This is not work you want to see for fun; rather it is art that demands to be seen because of its unflinching honesty and uncomfortable provocation.

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