Saturday, October 13, 2012

Vince Kral @ BOX on 5th

Installation by Vince Kral

The BOX on 5th gallery in Ybor City, Tampa, is a newish gallery, defining itself and forging its own identity through its exhibits. Mitzi Gordon has been curating recent shows, with Vince Kral hanging the works. In the current show, he has hung his own installations.

Installation by Vince Kral

Vince Kral, in his first one-man show, lined the walls, a back space and the center bar/altar/table with a cacophony of cultural icons turning the BOX into an alternative artist's mancave. Electric guitars, tons of Star Wars consumable icons and recreated authentic-looking obsessive environments, consoles, paraphernalia, uniforms, and much more, with monitors playing videos of the artist's performances. It is a good idea to view or review those videos more closely here [Link].

What is going on here? It is as if a Star Wars fan's belongings (and office) have been moved into the BOX space, along with custom-made replicas of consoles, scenes and items from the movies. It is quite a collection, but in this context, also rises beyond that.

Vince Kral, "Rebel Alliance Snow Samples from Planet Hoth"

Look closely, at the difference between the commercial toys/collectibles and those made or worked-over by Kral. The latter two are the product of an observant mind. Some are replicas of quotidian items in the movies, such as consoles, things like "Rebel Alliance Snow Samples from Planet Hoth", [Link] or a console titled "Echo Base Observation Station". It is important to note that there's much more, things like guitars, an entire office, furniture, framed photographs and more.

Work by Vince Kral
Work by Vince Kral

It comes across as a personal shrine, one that speaks volumes about the relationship between corporate goods, marketing, consumerism and how and where these things end up. In Kral's case, they are transformed into a collective vehicle for personal expression, identity and more. The first word that comes to mind when experiencing the work is obsession. The Force is an integral part of character, and Vince carved himself a great, big dripping wedge.

Vince Kral, Office Installation

Photo by Maida Millan

The last time I saw Vince Kral in a live performance it was at the WTCA in December of last year, in a landmark show by then-curator and photographer Maida Millan titled: "I Still Have a Bad Feeling about This", focused around Star Wars. It was reviewed here [Link] and the closing reception here [Link]. He played a raucous electric guitar while in Princess Leia drag. The level of energy, over-the-top humor and creativity dripping with character was dazzling. On the left is a photo from that show, with Vince as Leia sitting in his installation of the Millenium Falcon cockpit (!). If you missed this legendary show and performance, you have a second chance: There will be a closing reception for this show where Vince will perform live. It will be a Halloween party on Oct 31st at 10 PM at the BOX.

Congratulations to Vince Kral, Mitzi Gordon and BOX on 5th for a very good show.

--- Luis

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