Pawel Kuczynski manages to pack a considerable punch into his art. There is more than just satire here. Irony is presented in a way that demands the viewer pause and consider everyday facets of our existence that are far more unsettling once we stop taking them for granted and realize how profoundly disturbing they actually are.
Granted, it isn’t difficult to make light of our sick society. But Mr. Kuczynski does it in a very arresting and perversely amusing manner. The man is a master of compositional presentation. His sense of color and light unerring. Such facile abilities drive home the sting of these pieces. You’d have to be fairly dense to miss the overt messages, but it would also be hard not to appreciate the vivid execution. This art is meant to make you think of the amazing amount of injustice and the insane habits of our culture. A culture that liberally embraces death, war, mayhem and a slew of other horrors that should have passed from civilization long ago yet seem so deeply entrenched we will probably succumb en masse to their effects rather than ever rise up from them. What? Too Cynical? Too bad. Look at this art and weep or laugh. Reality in our time is ugly in too many ways. We might as well have some cynical fun with it.
Consider the picture above. Because we are on top of the food chain we have decided that the little predatory animal that allows us to treat it as a valued companion is worth so much we must sacrifice the lives of a legion of animals unskilled at manipulating us. The furry little fiends win out. How different is pussy from man? We both take unbridled advantage of situations at a huge cost to others and think little of it. We are the top predators. We are meant to win. Rapidly our winning is turning to losing and the future is decidedly bleak. If we pass from an unprepared for extinction will the cats be joining us? Hitched to the wrong star? As our population increases will we forget about pets and do what Asian cultures have done for centuries–eat them?
This is the kind of philosophical thinking that Pawel Kuczynski’s art elicits. Like a train wreck you can’t help but look and “Oh! The Humanity!”
Mr. Kuczynski’s art is political cartooning on steroids. Like the best editorial cartoons these works manage to rile you up and inflame your most sensitive sensibilities. Everything is fair game from Obama to The Catholic Church and beyond. This is as it should be. We need to be shaken from our collective stupor and shown the shit that is transpiring while we try to look away. “The times they are a changing”, as Bob Dylan so eloquently reminded us back in the Sixties. Yes, they’ve changed and none of the disruption has produced merely pretty pictures.