“Life is rather a short walk through eternity. Be they seeds, pups or infants, on the trek all pick up weight, sensitivity and awareness. Then, much before the end of the run, they deteriorate, head, legs and lungs. The tragicomedy of existence: the long walk of slow decay.” – Dagobert D. Runes
Flowers unfurl, tendrils tumbling into carnivorous veins. They’ve crossed their full bloom and start their quiet descent into their next undeniable phase. Kikyz1313’s subjects are always babes in some ethereal state of resignation. In our very loud and plastic world, perhaps one of the very last taboos is an honest and raw depiction on the subject of death. Not a heroic death. Not a pimped up violent death. Not the subject of buzz feeds, headlines or cop shows but death in its most uncomfortable guise. As much as we deny it, we are the stuff of meat and bones and subject to an inevitable decline. Her work reminds me of that story of the three monkeys. One hides its eyes. One covers its ears and one mutes its mouth. See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil.
In a world where our mortality is forced into the corner like a naughty child, maybe an unflinching look at decay is the closest thing to a contemporary evil. It’s the last grandstand that hints to our animal birthright. If this is the case, Kikyz1313’s work gently pries open the monkey’s fingers. “Why do we ignore the very intimate contents of our own bodies? Why isn’t there a balance between the mundane tangible world and the unfathomable cosmos of our fleeting existence?” She whispers softly and laces the gore with enough intricacy to make amends. Small creatures and humans in their purest form seem to ward off the horror long enough for an audience to dive in. She exploits her green thumb so that death and decay uncover the fertile ground that’s hidden beneath.
Kikyz1313 is from Queretaro in Mexico with a BFA from the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro. Her decision to work with the very illustrative mediums of watercolour & graphite is a conscious choice aimed at softening the blow of her uncomfortable themes. Like a Rackham or a Dulac, their surface pleases and invites. Their decorative quality helps to lower an audience’s guard. On its most visceral level nothing jars or assaults. The palette has the decayed warmth of an old sweater or a love worn toy. Your gaze is guided fluidly across the piece as you read the lines and textures before you actually see their form. The macabre seems to blossom with as much beauty as something on the cusp of ripeness.
Growing up in Mexico, Kikyz1313 acknowledges the culture’s influence on her work. “Mexican society is aware of the short existence of man, and more than a frightening experience we experience a feeling of respect”. While some cultures sugar coat it to make it more palpable, others cover it in sheets. Kikyz1313 seems to explore it in a subtler form. A balance of repulsion and beauty, of alien and natural. Like a nature documentary we see a forest fast tracked through its demise. Where an animal decomposes a tree sprouts. Where a bough breaks a flower blooms. Where there is grief there is tenderness. She shows us that death’s beauty lies in its cyclical nature. Most of our fears seem to reside in the finality. The full stop. This work shows us that in its most natural form there is always something that comes ever after. . .