Kristof Kintera’s exhibition THE END OF FUN! is an engaging, extensive and ecocritical display of humour and politics.
The first floor of the exhibition is a scattered workshop, swamped with discarded cables, spray cans and plastic. The workbenches are plagued with paint; all the items are disorderly placed on the bench, making the setting feel like a moving rather than staged display of art. In the corner sits a screen that details Kintera’s process, as he moves between moulds and designs to bring to life this chaotic scene of creation. In the centre of the room, there sits a mountain of wired headphones, atop of a wooden surface splattered with green paint; once more, Kintera creates a sculpture that feels kinetic rather than static, possibly pointing to the continuing direction mankind is taking in the pollution of the planet. The walls speak true to this story; the drawings that fill the room show plants growing from technology, a critique on the mechanisation of nature.
The room that follows onto this displays a metropolis of switchboards and wires. Trees grow in the form of red, blue and green wires, overlooking a horizon of cluttered cables. The detail in Kristof’s work is admirable and intense, recycling the scraps of technology that construct a self-criticism on the environmental issues we face today. Adjacent to this kinetic city are four models of the Earth, held up by long, branch like legs, which rattle on the spot. Kintera’s message here, perhaps, is that the Earth is not in possession of itself. The roots that cling onto mankind simultaneously hold the Earth up, whilst threatening to pull life apart.
Upstairs, you find a room filled with posters, illuminated by the flickering of a light. These posters, splattered with political, if not humorous, messages, speak to issues of identity, the environment and discrimination. ‘Stop Thinking About Yourself’ is juxtaposed with ‘I See How You Think’, the ‘Meaning of Life’ is hidden behind a piece of plaster and ‘I Can Tell You World is Dirty’ is accompanied by ‘Our Future is Desolated’. Kintera draws attention to the uncertainty of the Earth’s future, as well as individual doubts about oneself.
Coming on from this room, you are greeted by a tall sculpture, assembled with lamps, wires and metal. This structure had an intimidating presence, contrasted by the plastic halo that sits above its illuminated head. Possibly, the halo suggests mankind’s apotheosis of machinery and subsequent glorification of technology. Moreover, the flashing lights brought life to the structure, but this is paradoxical. The use of electricity, and the invitation for the onlooker to capture this spectacle virtually, draw into question how much Kintera is discouraging, or encouraging, a participation with technology. The answer to this, perhaps, is found in the room that joins onto this space. There stands a small hooded human model, which faces the wall. Every few minutes or so, the model slams its head into the plaster repeatedly. The noise was deafening and produced an alarming display, suggesting the frustration with which the environmental issues Kintera constructs can be responded to.
Overall, Kintera’s exhibition is self-reflective and critical of humanity and technology. The intricacies with which Kintera constructs his art is commendable, reflecting the complexity of human life. By doing so, Kintera leads the onlooker to question their existence by means of humour, politics, and philosophical critique.
This exhibition can be found at the IKON Gallery in Birmingham from 17 September – 22 November 2020.
By Rebecca Freeman and Molly Websdell