For over a decade, artist Mike Kelley has been re-creating the bottled city of Kandor in various forms, including blown glass, lightboxes, and videos, as a commentary on memory and change (Chris recently noted an exhibit of his work in LA). While doing this, he realized that—unlike every other aspect of superhero comics—the appearance of Kandor, the last remaining city from Superman’s home planet of Krypton, is not canon. From the exhibit catalog (quoted at Super Punch):
Interestingly, the image of Kandor was never codified and the numerous representations of it in the comic book throughout the years vary widely in appearance. In this exhibition Kelley reconstructs ten unique versions of Kandor, with its enclosing bottle, which, despite obvious differences, purport to depict the same city. Thus, Kandor – as an eternally maintained, but constantly reconfigured, relic of Superman’s childhood – is an apt symbol of Kelley’s interests in the vagaries of memory…
and so on and so forth. This isn’t the only thing Kelley does—if it was, he would be a mere obsessed fanboy as opposed to a Fine Artist—and his other work ties into it in different ways.
Anyway, Kelley’s work has been collected in a new book, Mike Kelley: Kandors, and that has prompted the New York Times to put a slideshow of some of his images online. They are beautiful but also oddly generic; I think of Kandor as being more detailed than that, but as Kelley is interested in what is forgotten as well as what is remembered, maybe that’s part of the concept.
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