In 1982, Hobby Japan readers must’ve recalled the adage “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” as they encountered SF3D, an ongoing feature in the magazine that took World War II aesthetics and applied them to retro-futuristic war machines. These photo-based installments, through real-world backdrops, forced perspectives, and motion blurring, hyper-realistically highlighted the original models of artist Kow Yokoyama, ones he’d constructed from various kit parts and found objects. Reborn in 1999 as Maschinen Krieger ZbV3000 (abbreviated as Ma.K), these former SF3D designs found new life through model manufacturers like Rainbow Egg, Modelkasten, and Silicon-Tribe, a resurgence that allowed Kevin “Klav” Derken to acquire twelve Ma.K kits in early 2012. Finding proficiency with these forms, Derken’s award-winning paint applications led to his expansions of the universe’s oeuvre, conjoining pieces from Ma.K kits with extraneous objects, such as art toys. And perhaps it was this kindred kit-bashing spirit that caused Yokoyama to become fast friends with Derken, whose diversity shines within his first solo exhibition, One Off.

An Overview of Klav’s One Off Solo Exhibition

Having titled his exhibition after the shorthand term for one-of-a-kind works, or one-offs, the forty-six pieces displayed within are representative of Derken’s confounding ability to imbue a rich vibrancy through a muted palette. From the fiery warmth of autumnal hues to the frigid tonality of wintery colorations, this selection of the artist’s uniquely hand-painted forms embodies his focal shift from model kits to indie toys and vinyl sculptures, though the ghost of Yokoyama’s Maschinen Krieger ZbV3000 still looms throughout. Not only revisiting a proper Ma.K kit for the first time in two years with his hand-painted Snakeball “split model,” several other pieces also represent the artist’s style of constructing mechanical innards out of model kits, such as how the KAWS-designed Companion is split open to allow a construction of Ma.K parts to spill forth. With these perfect accents serving as recollections of Derken’s kit-bashing roots, one can only imagine Yokoyama smiling upon the collective results from afar, his conceptual child having been reborn through the American known as Klav.

Klav’s One Off solo exhibition at the Clutter Magazine Gallery had its opening reception on Saturday, November 9th from 6-9pm, with all works in this exhibition remaining on display until December 6th, 2019 at the gallery’s physical location (163 Main Street, Beacon, NY 12508).

View the gallery’s dedicated page for Klav’s One Off exhibition

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