Lost Boy

Lost Boy by John Kessler seen at Salon94 during Art Basel Miami Beach this year. Perhaps at the expense of child labor?

Jon Kessler: Lost Boy #2, 2012 from Salon 94, New York

In the Salon 94 booth at Art Basel Miami 2012, Kessler investigated the intersection between child labor and technological consumption in mad, mechanically poetic form. Kessler’s nine-year-old nephew serves as the model, and the works — eight stand-alone kinetic sculptures that move and shift along with the viewer — merge new technology with anthropomorphic art.

“I used so many materials [for the eight pieces]: figures made out of resin, real clothes I bought at Old Navy, electronics, fog machines, incense burners, bubble mix, silicone, beer, a cooler, mirrors, plexiglass, cameras, monitors, a stuffed bird,” says Kessler. “There are a lot of materials. It’s very much in the school of everything.”

“The first piece you see is an iPad that is turning in 90-degree increments — you see yourself in it — and when you walk around to the back of it, there is a little boy who is making the iPad turn,” says Kessler, who started building the automatons last July. “Another piece shows this same boy as a disembodied head, wearing a pair of Captain America underwear over his head like a mask, smoking a cigarette with a video of his body underneath.”

The works are about the “sacrifices we make for the good life: iPads, fun, parties,” says Kessler, and despite the dark, contemporary material, they feel neither dense nor gratuitous. “They’re a little dark,” he says, “but they’re not stripped of optimism. There’s a playfulness in the mechanisms and in the opera of the scene.”

From The LiP – Luxury in Progress

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