Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Krampus Show at Curly Tail Fine Art

It would seem that people are exploring the darker side of many things these days - not just fairy tales but folktales too. Santa's dark partner, who is all but forgotten these days, is creeping back onto the scene.

In the last couple of years art shows revolving around Krampus, short story collections including Krampus characters and Krampus art dolls have become more and more prolific.

As you can imagine, from the subject matter, there are quite a few disturbing images but I guess that's the point.  While I think it's good to remember a dark side (especially to anything so "glitzed" and commercialized as the Christmas/Yule season) I'm not convinced going straight to horrific visuals for the most "demonic aspect" (and I'm not just talking about the Krampus-creature's appearance) is the way to go.
Chris Buzelli
I say "demonic aspect" because the darker side of Christmas to me is shown in plenty of sobering light by the light Dicken's Christmas ghosts and in The Little Match Girl's dying sparks. In real life, Christmas darkness is in the lines of homeless people waiting patiently to receive their charity-handout Christmas dinners and in the candles shining alone in curtained windows for all those family members lost too soon or fighting overseas during the season. But the stories and real-life scenes have a hope in them despite their darkness and that's something I see missing from a lot of the Krampus representations.
Dan Crowley
If you're familiar with the mythology and folklore you know that Krampus isn't specifically evil but instead performs  a necessary function - one that can be negotiated with to some extent if you understand his rules. (One region's form of him leaves coal in the stockings of naughty children, for example, a tradition that remains, though simplified, in our Christmas mythology today.) There's even a "Krampus Day" that's still celebrated in Alpine countries on December 5th. It's sort of like  Christmas version of Halloween but without the cute kids dressing up and OD-ing on candy.
Mark Garro
I must admit, even for someone who loves all things urban fantasy and adores Halloween above all other times of the year, all that dark without the light is just a bit TOO dark for me. I guess we have yet to find a balance.. (And so the pendulum swings!)

Here's another interesting piece from a showing earlier in the year:

You can see the details of the current show in the image at the head and, if you're interested, you can check out the variety of Krampus art on the website HERE. If you want to see it in person, the show runs in Chicago till January 15, 2012.

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