When Roy Lichtenstein precisely painted Ben Day dots on a canvas to recreate a panel from DC ComicsSecret Hearts #83, recontextualizing the pre-existing design into his own fine art environment, he was appropriating the image. The same appropriation concept used by Andy Warhol to repetitively silkscreen Marilyn Monroe‘s head from a publicity photo, or Jeff Koons to create a massive and metallic sculpture of a balloon dog, or to all the participating artists tasked with hand-painting (and potentially even sculpturally modifying) the emblematic KAWS form, the Companion (learn more here), for March of 2018’s perfectly titled Misappropriated Icon exhibition. Regarding this last one, the artists involved utilized a widely-available 16-inch tall bootleg as their base, furthering the complex questioning a viewer of appropriated art must make, pondering whether it is original and even authentic. And when the showcase’s curator, Cory Rutter, opted to revisit this exhibition for a second offering, newly invited contributor Kevin “Klav” Derken muddied the waters of appropriation’s authorship even more, creating a robotic Disassembled Companion as not only a reaction to but intential contrast against Hajime Sorayama‘s previous No Future Companion rendition.

A Brief History of Hajime Sorayama and the No Future Companion

Born in 1947, Sorayama has purportedly found eroticism in metal since childhood, though he didn’t professionally depict a robot in his illustrations until 1978. And it wouldn’t be until the following year that his well-recognized “sexy robot” aesthetic emerged, the artist’s love of the feminine physique’s fluidity mingled with his long-standing appreciation of metal’s smooth perfection. Building a reputation and following through this direction, as seen in countless commercial projects and a voluminous number of monograph art books, it would be in 2006 that one of Sorayama’s collectors approached him about interpreting a creation of their own, when Brian “KAWS” Donnelly requested a painted rendition of his Companion character. Having become friends through their various encounters, Sorayama’s robotically slick and clean imagining of the KAWS design would become the basis for a collaborative sculpture, the No Future Companion. Having taken three years to perfect, the hyper-articulated and metalized plastic form was released twice in mid-2009, first in the Black Chrome finish and subsequently in the Silver coloration, both 500 piece editions perfectly capturing Sorayama’s fluidity and fetishism without including a hint of eroticism.

Klav’s Disassembled Companion

But Klav’s aesthetic is miles away from Sorayama’s, the polished and light-hearted roboticism of the latter replaced with the former’s menacing and monstrous mechanics. Calling upon his kitbashing roots, Klav primarily constructs the automaton half of his Disassembled Companion through Ma.K ZBV3000 model parts, a nodding tribute to Kow Yokoyama’s lasting influence on this artist’s work. Imbued with a rusted texturing and muted color palette, Klav’s unique construction is the epitome of his aesthetic, exposed wiring chaotically connecting a multitude of harmoniously organized parts, the whole feeling akin to a forgotten piece of technology rather than a revered creation. And while they are world’s apart, both Klav and Sorayama’s renditions are true to their creator’s unique voices, both sharing solely an appreciation for and appropriation of robots and KAWS’ Companion.

Klav’s unique Disassembled Companion sculpture will be available at the Misappropriated Icon 2 exhibition, curated by Strangecat Toys, which will take place on Saturday, March 16th, 2019 from 5-10pm at the All City Gallery‘s physical location (1517 E 7th Ave Suite B, Tampa, FL 33605).

View the organizer’s dedicated Facebook event page for the Misappropriated Icon 2 exhibition.

For more information on Klav:
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