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Sample Gallery/Dealer Art Work - Elliott Contemporary

Menno Blue
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Artist: Menno Krant
Created On: 2005
Image Medium: Mixed media on canvas
Image Dimensions: 91 x 91
Art work Description:
It was in the afterlife that he discovered one hundred tiny blue men living in a mushroom village deep in the forest. But for Toronto artist Menno Krant, this surreal “Eden” was not the end; instead, it has provided the means for solace and grounding during a difficult period of physical immobility and recovery. In the fall of 2001, a visit to a Toronto hospital due to shortness of breath and general exhaustion quickly spiraled into a fight for survival as Krant’s system had an adverse reaction to administrated treatment. Within twenty-four hours of checking in, Menno had been clinically dead for over four minutes and had undergone quintuple bypass surgery. An experience he says “changed the way I saw everything around me.” During a period of immobility in the months that followed Krant diverted his attention to cataloguing and documenting his enormous collection of work. It was during this time that a friend, who was helping with the technical aspects of the project, innocently introduced Krant to his guilty pleasure of collecting Smurf memorabilia; unwittingly laying the foundation for a project that would consume the artist for the next three years. Initially attracted to the bizarre knockoff items flogged as Smurf memorabilia on sites such as eBay, Krant had an irresistible desire to purchase and proudly flaunt his unlicensed rejects on the web-based communities of international Smurf collectors. What began with a general dismissal or outrage towards the inauthentic among these connoisseurs gradually grew into curiosity and obsessive desire. Since then, some of the largest online communities in Europe and North America have established sites devoted solely to the identification and discussion of “fake” Smurfs, with Menno considered a leading expert. While this transition from suspect “outsider” to recognized authority provides a fascinating backdrop to the body of work constituting Krant’s subversive project, the issues with which he has wrestled are by no means limited to the notions of legitimacy and authentication. There is no room for childhood innocence in Krant’s deconstruction of Peyo’s Belgian Smurf fables; instead, the social implications of this androcentric community are explored through themes such as gender politics, anxiety, distrust, sexuality, utopian ideals, religion, war and the immanent collapse of empires. But perhaps one of the most persistent themes in literature throughout the ages is that of the disruptive female. Like her literary predecessors, Smurfette was created and deployed by an outsider as a weapon of temptation that would raise jealousy and competition among men, eventually causing their village to descend into anarchy. Admittedly, Krant’s original intentions, rooted as they were in humour and dark observation, were likewise conceived to play a destructive role. As he devilishly refers to his online activities, “I am bombing them, disrupting their community by messing with the things they value.” In the feature painting for Menno Blue, in which the head outlines a collage of clippings from the UK edition of the Smurf graphic novel when Smurfette is created, there is a moment of awakening that is captured by the central figure, a rupture in the sense of the self and its role in the community.

3 art work(s) found for Elliott Contemporary
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