A biological clock ticks inside Kristian Kozul. It sends him on wanderings. The affinity to deal with contradictory cultures - and cultural contradictions - seems to have been laid into this Croatian artist's cradle.
No culture is more multicultural, and thereby more irritating and controversial than the American. A few years ago, Kristian Kozul settled in New York City. Here he is confronted with new values, a new life, new motifs, but in the tradition of all "emigrants", he also brings his own stylistic inventory with him. In his new works, mostly developed in the past two years, subtle and detailed oriental Ornamentalist is confronted with the insignia of masculine virility in the American world view which results in a scurrile breach.
The saddle and hat of the former American hero are virtually "emasculated", by a coating of precious glitter and glamour. Kozul's "American Dream" is transformed into a personal "American Nightmare". At a first glance from a certain distance, his sculptural works appear structured as folklore reliquary. Assembled with extreme diligence, these elaborate devotional objects are interwoven, following the "beautiful, immaculate, good", all the way up to the alleged aesthetic ecstasy. The objects, the rotating saddle with a hat ("The Invisible Cowboy") for example, are associated with striking demimondes of a sexualizing macho culture, reminding us of Casinos, seduction, and Las Vegas showgirls, and the "quickie", easy gain, easy loss of the American seduction. Sublime beauty and devastating ugliness are the substances, which hold Kristian Kozul's work together.
A work of art is "[...] completely made by those who contemplate or read it and who, by their applause or even by their rejection, allow it to outlive." Marcel Duchamp states 1956 in his argumentation for his idea of a "Readymade" in Art as its counter movement.
Kristian Kozul also works with classical components of the Readymade. He exclusively employs banal (everyday) objects in the construction of his room and wall sculptures. But what freedom does the spectator have when looking more closely? Can he, considering the bafflement he is overcome with when realizing what the objects are actually made of and what they could therefore mean, decide for himself what he effectively wants to see?
Formally, what Kristian Kozul confronts the viewer with is a borderline between art and kitsch, but furthermore the joys and horrors rest within the perception of his work between human consciousness and unconscious, between Freud's "Über-Ich" and "It", ethics and instinct, good and evil. While the iconography of his work is culturally driven by the desire for something superior, better; and independent of the artist's or the observer's individual vita; they are both subordinated to a deep fall into reality. This aspect is particularly efficient in these American works. Culture encounters "Unculture", "Beauty of Opulence" encounters "Low Culture Aesthetics" (Kristian Kozul, 2009).
An art emerges from this artistic act, which is characterized by a profound universal social ethic. In this moment of insight lies the distinctive, contemporary and excellent work of Kristian Kozul.
Kristian Kozul is born 1975 in Munich, Germany. From 1993 to 1996 he studies Art at the School of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Croatia, then returns to Germany and continues his studies from 1997 to 2002 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf with Professor Kounellis and Professor Kamp, in sculpture.
Today, Kristian Kozul lives and works in New York City. At the Biennale for young European art in Rome 1999, where he participates for the first time, he receives the interested attention of an international audience. Since then, Kozul's work has been shown at diverse group and solo exhibitions.
In the year 2006 the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb dedicated a solo exhibition to him. His work has also been presented at the group of artists MAERZ exhibition in Linz, at the Beijing Biennale of Contemporary Art, as well as at the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, New York, the Anhava Gallery in Helsinki, Finland and in galleries in Switzerland, USA, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria and Germany.