Auteurs or fiilmmakers whose presence dominates every aspect of their work, are the subject of a surreal new sculpture series by artist Mike Leavitt called King Cuts. The exhibition of satirical wood sculptures places the heads of 16 famous directors on to the bodies of their most memorable characters. George Lucas is Jabba the Hutt, James Cameron is a Na’vi, Spielberg is ET, etc. Each sculpture stands 18-inches tall, carved from a single block of wood. He likens the process to editing a reel of film.
As a known movie buff, Leavitt's series lampoons filmmakers he loves with his surreal sense of humor. King Cuts explores the director’s role as an artist, the personal costs of making a feature length film, and the potential for an auteur’s own iconography to overtake their personality. Through his sculptures, Leavitt presents an image of the artist consumed by their work.
“Directors endure pain tending to the light of photography, the story’s tension, the limits of money and the sacrifices to their vision. Trust in that vision is so powerful that they relinquish their anatomy. That’s why I sculpted their bodies physically devoured by their work,” Leavitt says. What better way to honor their sacrifice and creative brilliance than with these clever 18-inch-tall figurines?
King Cuts is on view at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York through June 11. Learn more about the artist here. And be sure check out Leavitt’s Instagram to watch time lapse videos of these sculptures coming to life, here.