September 28, 2023
In vibrant color, Kumkum Fernando’s hulking, hybrid figures (previously) wander through an enigmatic and quickly evolving world. “The melancholy characters of The Lost Mystics are searching for meaning, crisscrossing time and space, unmoored and chasing illusions,” says a statement from Jonathan Levine Projects, which presents the artist’s solo exhibition during ArtPrize.
Fernando repurposes found wood, nails, and metal details into modular beings, some of which have removable crowns. The artist draws on a wide range of global traditions, from Ethiopian and Sri Lankan masks to American board games to Buddhist and Hindu folktales. Simultaneously robotic and mystical, each character interacts with its surroundings in a unique way. The duo in “Soul Mates,” for example, are said to have traveled 23 million light years to find one another, and in “Which Way Is Home,” the creature turns its three heads in a perpetual search for direction.
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