Disputed Kingdoms, 2021
Cast resin and mixed media hand painted figures, laser engraved and hand painted wooden chess board with mixed media
9 1/4 x 22 x 22 inches / 23.5 x 55.88 x 55.88 cm (Board)
3 1/4 to 5 3/4 inches / 8.25 to 14.6 cm (Figures)
Edition of 25
Like the artist's large mixed media assemblages, this chess set embodies the familiarity of history, combined with elements collected from discordant paths, as a way to explore war, religion, culture, and death. Kuksi's artistic vision lends itself perfectly to the game of chess, which originated in India around 600 AD and was historically used to illustrate battlefield tactics.
Pulling inspiration from multiple geographical regions and time periods during human history, Kuksi's chess set imagines an anachronistic battle between light and dark, while honoring this beloved game's design principles. Weapons, outfits, and accessories culled from Ancient Rome, the Ottoman Empire, and Medieval Europe are assembled to reflect Kuksi's interpretation of the game. The Rook is reimagined as a Gothic Tower, while all other pieces are depicted in human form. Respecting traditional chess standards, each chessman's size is proportional to its importance in the game. For example, pawns kneel on one leg with their swords and maces at the ready, as they prepare to rush onto the battlefield, while the King looms over them.
Kuksi's ornamental chess set is full of exquisite and unexpected details. The hand-painted wooden board is comprised of an 18 x 18 inch (45.72 x 45.72 cm) playing area and adorned with a decorative border, both of which are laser engraved with intricate flourishes. The board also features a substantial base extension to a height of over 3 1/4 by 22 inches (8.25 x 55.88 cm) and also adorned with decorative touches that are signature of Kuksi's style. Each of the thirty-two chess pieces, ranging in size from 3 1/4 to 5 3/4 inches / 8.25 to 14.6 cm, are made of high-quality resin, cast from handmade figures designed by the artist. Both the black and white pieces feature distinct characteristics, giving each faction its own personality. Moreover, Kuksi customizes every chessman with unique embellishments, so no two pieces or chess sets are alike. The figures store in the base of the board for shipping and storage. Each limited-edition set will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed and numbered by the artist.