KriÅ¡tof Kintera likes to make people nervous…
He installs spinning circular saws in gallery floors, and rigs the plug at the end of an electric cord to release 50,000 volts in short bursts.
Artworks that, just like your neighbor’s homemade flamethrower, scream “Stay away, don’t touch!” and then, after the initial jolt of fear, turn out to be super fun.
The Czech artist’s latest cringe-inducing masterpiece, Do it yourself (after Brancusi), is a 23-foot stack of cement bags that tilts dangerously to one side, looming over spectators.
“Everybody has the intense feeling that this tall tower is about to fall over,” Kintera says cheerfully. “It could fall, but it won’t,” he adds, “and I won’t tell you how it’s done.” Those looking for reassurance should visit his website for the list of building materials. Here’s a hint: styrofoam.
Even his non-threatening works are subtly disturbing. Something electric, a coconut that bobbles absurdly at the end of an extension cord, is hardly dangerous, except perhaps to its creator, who built it out of an eccentric motor and a BASIC Stamp microcontroller.
“I blew up many, many models while building it,” Kintera confesses. What’s the point of such a senseless appliance? He responds with a typical artist’s riddle: “I like to use ready-made materials the way other sculptors work with clay. They’re the clay of everyday life.”
Despite all his provocative intentions, however, Kintera is still a handyman at heart. “For me, when a piece is finished, it loses its sense of tension and adventure,” he says. “You can only experience that thrill when you make it yourself.” Or when daring your buddy to touch the sparking end of that live wire.