Notorious Swedish cult artist, Kokrot (pronounced Kokrot), pictured above, has given more ammunition to those who say modern day art is nothing but a huge con trick, through his latest exhibition, Abstract.
The reclusive, obsessively private Stockholm born artist who made news headlines 5 years ago when he give one of his kidneys to his terminally ill baboon live on a Swedish satellite channel, has rarely been sighted in public since then, although he has continued to produce exhibitions. His most famous exhibition to date, was the seminal Child, in which he rented the 5-storey Dolewaller art gallery in Brussels for a full year and left it completely empty aside from a single framed photograph on the 3rd floor of himself as a 4 year old.
Kokrot has divided art critics with some proclaiming him to be the Warhol of his generation, while the Observer’s art correspondent described him as the “Peter Sutcliffe” of the art world. The eccentric loner is said to live underground as it is said to help him “piss creativity”. This obviously came in handy in his 2010 work, URheine? where he had a river of urine (said to be all self-produced) flowing through the Stallehalle gallery in Bonn, Germany.
Kokrot came to public attention in 2004 with the audacious exhibition ,Breathe, which featured him standing in a shop window in Paris and breathing on the window for 7 days. He then auctioned his used colostomy bag which sold for £33,000 and caused outrage by shredding the money in a hospital foyer.
His most controversial plan was a performance piece named Genocide in which he planned to cull a colony of otters one by one with his bare hands, live on webcam, which was only prevented through police intervention.
However, his new work, Abstract, is sure to attract criticism from even his most devoted fans. He is charging 1000 euros to “mentally send” impromptu “thoughtwave” paintings to his buyers. These are in a limited edition of 500 and he states everyone will be completely different. He will only accept cash payments through the post which are to be sent to a secret address that will never be revealed. He will then “think” of a painting and transmit it to the buyer. It is believed that these “thought paintings”could then fetch up to 100,000 euros amongst private collectors.
Living on Sponge
His team of management and publicists are obsessive about keeping any mention of him out of the media or internet. He has staff watching the internet 24 hours a day under orders to remove any mention of him. In fact, i’d be surprised if this blog post lasts more than a couple of days. A recent sacked member of his management team sold his story to the Swedish newspaper Bild. Thomas Fock said “I have worked with many actors, musicians and tv celebrities, but none compare to Kokrot. His ego is as big as a big top. We were not allowed to talk to him, look at him and if we thought of him, we were instantly fined 200 euros which we had to drop through a “money chunnel” into his lair. Some of the noises eminating from that place were blood-curdling and the fumigators were often called in on a daily basis. The guy lives on sponge. You tell me that’s normal? Some might call him a genius, to me he is an asshole. I got to know the guy better than anyone even though i never met him. He once told me via his intercom that he had been dead for 3 weeks and from now on he would only appear as a hologram.”
Kokrot’s personal and private life are shrouded in mystery. He has previously denied having parents, stating “I am a perception, therefore i am not here”. He has not spoken in public for over 5 years and it is said that he does not intake any fluids as he “doesn’t trust the Government”. His last public appearance caused a stir when he walked down a high street in Gothenburg with a live fox over each shoulder and playing the bagpipes.
However controversial he is, his work is in great demand with some of his early paintings changing hands amongst art collectors for small fortunes. Confusion frequently reigns however, as Kokrot refuses to sign any of his work, meaning no one ever knows for sure if their piece is an original or not. Kokrot has frequently denied painting, stating that any works in existence “were not by him possibly” and that “paintbrushes are for people with jobs, not artists.” Recently early piece, “Moron“,brought 750,000 euros at auction.
What is Art?
Kokrot has stated through a braille release to a Swedish media company that Abstract will be his last work. However, rumours are circulating that he is planning a fashion line as he recently donated this outfit to Italian designer, Inzi Kupord’s latest fashion show:-
One thing is certain, whatever Kokrot plans to do next is sure to push the boundaries of “art”, leaving us to ask the question, “What actually is art?” After closely monitoring Kokrot’s “career”, I would answer, “Anything you can get away with”.