By Kelly Lovering
“Meat” Geoff Krawczyk, 31, the artist and mastermind behind “Meat Me,” an edible installation and performance art piece premiering Friday, January 22nd from 7 to 11PM, at the VAuLT Gallery, 702 Main Street.
Krawczyk, a University at Buffalo Fine Arts graduate student, will be serving a full body cast of himself made entirely out of homemade meatloaf for only $3 a slice, $2 beverages, and all the ketchup guests can slather.
The meatloaf will be molded to look exactly like Krawczyk, who has created a plaster cast of his body. The meatloaf will be prepared separately in sections and precooked before the show. Once at VAuLT, he plans to assemble it on a grill then let it cook completely.
The idea of creating ‘Meat Me’ came from Krawczyks’ ironic take on cannibalistic funeral rituals and was thematically streamlined with his other work and graduate thesis.
“Instead of making it gross and horror movie-esque, I wanted to make it out of comfort food,” Krawczyk says. “Straddling the line of art and entertainment, and acknowledging the intersection between conflict, tragedy and religion. A humorous take on what people take so seriously, death. There is the most primitive preconceived notion about it and how it relates to religious legends and myths – eating ancestors to transfer their energy and spirit.”
Gore is not the aesthetic goal for Krawczyk, but rather the message he is conveying to viewers, which is to take things out of context and recast or remix them. This particular concept parallels the concept of changing flesh into a sacred object, much like the Eucharist and Christianity.
“For me there is something I consider to be very important for an artist and that is to challenge a viewer’s perception. To help them view a concept differently than they would before,” he said. “A lot of my work considers conflict, death and war, and how it overlaps with the uplift of spirituality and religion. For instance, for this show, we are also going to do a funeral procession. It is giving you a ritual in a different context.”
The funeral procession will be accompanied by the musical performances of Lulldozer, comprised of other UB graduate students. The gallery will also feature some of Krawczyk’s smaller paintings, fine sketches and t-shirt designs, on display through January 29th.
“With performance you can really operate in a way a painting or sculpture really can’t. It exists in that place and that time. You can shoot a video, but it will not be visibly present again. It is tough to get that with any other art medium.”
Inspired by his father, a disabled war veteran, while growing up in conservative Oklahoma, Krawczyk saw first-hand the value of accepting the cycle of life and how brief it truly is. Tomorrow is never promised. His fathers’ recent defeat of cancer infused him with the idea that death is the great equalizer.
“I believe in humans, the good of man,” Krawczyk says. “The idea that what you do in this life affects you in the next life almost gives us a false hope. I don’t think that there is a later. Enjoy life for what it is. People fear death because it is the great unknown. It is the one thing that everyone has to go through at one point. Shouldn’t that be the great brotherhood?”